CH1: In which I have no idea what's going on
Let me just say in my defense, even if I had known what the gods were up to, I probably wouldn't have changed a single action had taken. Yeah, I played right into their hands, but when it comes down to it, I don't know what other choices I had.
I guess I'm getting ahead of myself though.
I woke up face first on a dock, the tang of rusted metal strong in the seawater that was flowing through my mouth and nostrils. I lifted my head, and dimly noted a strobing light coming from just over the edge of the dock. I stood, and saw that the light came from a woman, floating in the air above an emty dockyard, unleashing incredible blasts of white light onto the ground below her.
I spotted her targets quickly enough. Demonic figures leapt at her from the shadows, one by one, and one by one she struck them down, turning them to dust or making them explode in fire. The demons themselves looked sort of silly, really. They had the stony red faces and horns, like you'd expect, but they were also all decked out like a bunch of crazy guerilla fighters, complete with grenades, pistols, and body armor. Some of them just sort of appeared near to her in the air and detonated, but they seemed to be having a tough time getting close to her.
So far, she seemed to be doing a pretty good job of keeping them off of her. She always had the option to fly high and away from them, if they pressured her too much, and the dark, combined with her own strobes of light, wasn't doing wonders for the demons' sense of aim.
I reached in my pocket, fumbled for Riptide, and came up empty handed.
The lack of sword made me feel naked, and a little disturbed, I have to admit, but I've dealt with worse handicaps, and besides, this was a dream, right? I distinctly remembered falling asleep in my apartment in New Rome. Overall, the ratio between abductions and too-real-to-be-a-dream dreams was pretty heavily in favor of this not being real, and honestly I didn't give a dream like this too much thought anymore. I walked forward in a daze, trying to get a feeling for what I was looking at. Dreams this vivid were more likely the product of divine intervention than too many nachoes before bed, and I was probably witnessing a fight of some consequence. Or not. The gods had a way of burying you in irrelevant details.
I guess I must have looked like I was high, wandering into a firefight like was. The shining lady noticed me about half a breath before the demons did, and I was nearly as stunned as they were.
"Get out of here!" The lady's voice had a panicked edge to it, as she sent out a blinding flash of light, less destructive than her previous blasts, but much more widespread and bright.
When my vision cleared, I was staring down the barrel of a pistol, held by one of the demons, about twenty feet from me. It took me a fraction of a second to realize that the shining lady had been trying to give me a chance to run for cover, which was about a quarter second after the gun went off in my face.
Of course, before even that happened I was already in motion, instinct and experience moving my body without my mind registering why I needed to. I rolled into a crouch, and saw the demon's arm tracking me, only to be turned into so many dust-bunnies by yet another pillar of light, courtesy of shining lady with a side of yelling.
She paused for a moment in the air, the night deadly quiet except for her heavy breathing and the settling debris. She turned to me, and gestured angrily. "Get out of here. Now. The last thing I need is you becoming a-AGH!" A series of shots rang out from behind a derelict car, and my would-be-protector plummetted and cried out in pain.
At some point in those chaotic few seconds, I decided, dream or no, these monsters were going down.
"Hey, soldier-boy!" I hollered, and felt a pull in my stomach as I pulled up a jet of water and flung him across the parking lot. I sent a jet of water to a nearby window and dusted a second. I spun, and caught the arm of a third who'd been about to pull a pin from the grenades on his belt and flung him across the street.
Any haze that had been in thoughts had fled the scene. I breathed, touched my power, and water, wind and ice answered my call, a whirlwind touching down on the dockyard, surrounding me and the fallen lady. Flickers of lightning danced around the edges of the cyclone as the wind ripped anything smaller than a parked car into the sky and added it to the storm.
I had blocked a bullet with my sword once. I'm not saying that to brag or anything, but it's something I did once upon a time. It isn't anything I can do consistently, of course, but once in a while, when I'm really getting into a fight, I can see a punch coming before it's even thrown. That intuition, combined with a burst of divine speed... it made me unstoppable
I swung my arm at empty air, striking at the demon that I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt would appear. I could parts of another one flowing into place before he was even really there, like water trickling downhill. Strength surge through my veins and time seemed to slow to a crawl.
I barely had time to register the demon's face appearing in front of me before my fist crashed into its temple.
The snap was audible. This demon didn't turn into ash, it just sort of flopped to the ground bonelessly. All around me, the whirlwind fell to the ground in a crackling shower. My smile died on my lips. I dove to the ground, and grabbed the creature's face. It came off. The pinched, utterly still face of a middle-aged Asian man stared back at me.
I fell straight back on my rear, breathing hard. I blinked in shock and scuttled back over to the, uh, corpse. I'm not the greatest on first aid, but when you can't find a pulse and the guy's face is staring down the line of his backbone... yeah, he was gone.
I, Perseus Jackson, son of Poseidon, Hero of Olympus, had just killed a man. Yeah, uh, Oops. I've killed before, don't get me wrong, but I did not like the idea that I could do something like that by accident. Restraint is not something that comes naturally to children of Poseidon. Styx, superstrength is just something that just sort of comes and goes for me. I don't really have any control over it.
A gasp came from the lady, who was valiantly trying to climb to her feet just behind me. "Woah, woah woah take it easy," I stated, sounding way more calm than I felt. "You're hurt, right?" I still couldn't make out much of her appearance, thanks to the strobe effect.
"I'm fine," She coughed, sounding distinctly less than fine. She glanced at the body and winced. "Oni Lee? He's dead?"
I chewed the inside of my cheek. Great first impression here. "Uh, yeah, That... that wasn't intentional. What... what was going on here?"
"You saw pretty much everything that happened. There's a shipment of assorted drugs in a shipping container over there. I was going to burn it, but, well, Oni Lee was there. I got off a lucky flash of light, which messed with his vision and ability to teleport." She coughed. "Honestly though, I'm not a good match for him. I was just about to run when you showed up."
She was fumbling for something, it was hard to tell what. She cursed and it clattered to the ground. One of those ancient Nokia phones everyone has lying around somewhere. I picked it up.
"Hey, I can call the ambulance for you, don't worry about it. You were shot."
"Don't. Give me back the phone."
I lowered her ancient brick of a cell phone and bit back a smart reply. "Yeah? You may not have noticed, but you're bleeding out here." She had dimmed the light show to the point where I could look at her without it being painful, and frankly it did anything for her presence. She was short, mousy, and somewhere north of thirty. The growing patch of red on her arm wasn't much of a fashion statement either. Not that I'm one to criticize appearance, but she looked like she'd just walked through a few bad miles of Tartarus.
She sighed. "Vest took the first two shots. Anyway, if I'm bleeding out, so are you."
A red stain was blossoming just above my collar bone. "Huh. He must have tagged me with that first shot."
"Come on, give me my phone back." The woman tried to sit up and managed it with only a few gasps of pain. She had been hit in in the arm twice, and while individually neither of the wounds were grave, I could guess they didn't tickle.
I handed it over. "Fine. Why can't we use an ambulance again?"
She stared at me with tired eyes as she dialed a number. "You have no idea who I am, do you?" She paused. "Look, The PRT will be here in a minute, and I don't get along with them. I have an... acquaintance who will fix me up with fewer questions. If you don't want the PRT asking you a bunch of questions... I can try and get you help as well. Provided..." She shined a light in my face. "I can get someone to fix you up too." She placed the phone to her ear. "This is Purity. A friendly and I are injured. ABB territory, yeah. Oni Lee is down, so you owe us one. Come on, I..."
I sighed, and surveyed the scene. We had trashed the dockyard good. Purity's light pillars left huge craters in the ground, and the demon's grenades had scattered shrapnel to the four winds. Not demons. His name was Oni Lee. I had not helped anything with that whirlwind of mine, and I counted three flipped cars and a toppled crane, besides the gaping hole I had left in the wall of the building to my right. I heard sirens in the distance.
I wondered idly if the mist would cover this or not. Oni Lee and Purity seemed human, for the most part, but they clearly weren't normal humans. Purity at least had not had her vision obscured. What in Hades' name was going on here? Was this like that thing with the House of Life?
"...Fine. See you there." Purity hung up and clutched her side. "Oh God." She winced, and looked up at me. "I've arranged for help, if you're willing to take it. It's just a question of how much you trust the PRT, really."
I shrugged. "No real point. Wound's already healed. You need help getting to the meet-up place?"
Purity shook her head slowly, and gave me an appraising look. "I appreciate the help, but if you don't need medical attention, it's probably best to avoid my... friends." She paused. "I appreciate that you didn't try to turn me in, as well."
I laughed. "Yeah, I guess." I threw out a hand. "It's Purity, right? The name's Percy. Should I be turning you in?"
She shook my hand and almost laughed, but it turned into a cough halfway. "I used to be a villain, but I'm trying out this independent hero thing." She winced. "You can see about how well that's going." She raised an eyebrow at my orange t-shirt. "You truly are new to this game, aren't you?"
I coughed. Where in Hades was I? "Yeah, the super suit's in the laundry. Real embarrassing." She smiled at that. "I'm really new to this scene."
Purity turned to fly away. "The heroes will be here shortly. Obviously I'm not sticking around, so I understand if you'd rather leave than face the PRT's question. But I should warn you, If the heroes make an enemy of you, that isn't a bridge that's easily unburned, and you may find yourself between a rock and hard place." She looked away for a moment, pensive. "Some of us would give an awful lot to go back."
I didn't know quite what to say to that, and I didn't get the chance to think of something. She was gone, flying over the rooftops, a slight jerkiness to her path. The cops hadn't showed up yet, which I guess made sense considering that this was not exactly the nicest part of town. I mean, I hoped this wasn't the nice part of town. I bit my lip. There was a lot to process, and I had never been the best at this. 'Brockton Bay' wasn't a city I'd ever heard of, and the way the lady had been talking, it sounded like I'd dropped into some Dark Horse/Marvel/DC comics knockoff world.
Which was awesome except for the part that I might be far, far farther from home than I'd ever been before. But there was one way to be sure.
I hopped up onto an old ship that had more rust than steel on it, felt my hopes turn into so much vapor. I was roughly a few miles outside of what in my world would be Atlantic City, New Jersey, which was very much so not a city called Brockton Bay.
I sighed, and started looking for a homeless person who could give me pointers on this whole deal.
That was when the heroes showed up.
Thanks for reading. Definitely new to the CrW scene, and this is the first place I'm posting this story, so criticism is appreciated.