Gate crashers wouldn’t normally have been a problem, given who was at the party. In fact, given that it was an unadvertised family party in the middle of the day, gate crashers weren’t even considered to be among the potential problems. Except these weren’t gatecrashers, this was a trained and armed assault team with heavy duty tranqs, super-level body armour and uniforms. The family’s three biggest reputations were taken out before anyone even knew something was happening. Normally you’d have expected the rest to have been able to take care of something like this, but a family barbecue had children everywhere. As the Rosen Archer was unconscious on the ground that included a cluster of her near hysterical children around her.
The uniforms had everyone, well almost everyone, rounded up into a group under the gazebo. They’d had the family move the unconscious superheroes under there too and it was all too obvious that those guns were now aimed below waist level – cause trouble and we shoot the kids is always a nasty message to send. Only three people were in the house, unaccounted for and frankly probably not much use. The wisest heads hoped that they were hiding and calling the police, there was not much else a sulky/stroppy midteen and two equally difficult no-longer-teens without powers could do.
“Oh, did we interrupt a family event?” The Black Normant’s plans had been interrupted at one time or another by most adult family members over the years, “It’s just that this time I decided to clean house before I got down to business – doing it the other way around just doesn’t seem to work for me.” The villain stood outside his circle of henchmen and surveyed his enemies. “I don’t suppose ‘Give me your children and let them live’ is going to work on you bunch of second and third rate heroes, is it?” He looked at each of them slowly in turn, “That was actually a serious offer, you imbeciles. Ah, well, I did offer,” he raised a black gloved hand, “It’s not as if any first class hero’s going to come and help you.” He looked at Diamantte and sneered, “What, Thermodyne not answering your calls? Never been much of a boyfriend, has he? Raise your weapons, aim-” The stripped and weaponless body of one of his men fell from the roof and hit two of the others, sending the three of them sprawling across the grass. “What the? I thought you said they’d all been accounted for!”
“All the heroes have been, sir.” The team leader touched his head set and listened. “Our men in the house aren’t responding. Group Three, investigate!” Three of the armoured men broke from the circle and ran for the back door, to drop unmoving at the bottom of the steps. Another stripped body thudded to the ground on top of the two men on the team leader’s right and the third landed right behind the Black Normant, rustling his cloak on the way down.
“Who’s doing this?” The Black Normant was almost spluttering, “Who’s d-“
“That would be me,” the black and silver armoured figure was hovering six feet away about two feet above the ground and pointing a loaded, absurdly ornate, black and silver cross bow straight at the Black Normant. “You probably haven’t heard of me, I’m Black Empirion.”
“Actually, I have.” The Black Normant was looking very nervously at the end of the crossbow bolt.
“That probably makes this easier then. Go away. Leave these people alone. Take your goons and equipment away. You are annoying me. I have better things to do than deal with you - chatting up punk and goth chicks comes to mind. For heaven’s sake, go do what all the smart villains do – incorporate and make a fortune in business. Just stop being my problem or I will stop you.” The tip of the crossbow didn’t waver.
“Just make sure you take all your toys with you,” the owner of the female voice lounged in gold and blue armour in the back doorway. “You wouldn’t like how I’ll return anything you might leave lying around.” She made a one handed wave to the assembled company, “And if any of you boys want to hang around, well I could use some more playmates.” Her voice dropped a tone, “I hear some of you like to play rough. I can do that, just ask Cletus Prime.”
Apparently they didn’t need to ask Cletus Prime, the Black Normant and his people were gone, completely gone, in under three minutes.
The unconscious heroes started to stir. The midteen emerged from the house, swathed in three sets of body armour, to be embraced by his mother and face demands to be told what had happened in there.
“I don’t know,” complained Nyles, shrugging off his mother, “Eric and Steffie shoved me in the cupboard under the stairs, told me to keep quiet until they said it was all clear, then after some thumping around they came back and wrapped me in this stuff and told me to keep quiet again. I wouldn’t have come out if they hadn’t called me on this thing.” He held out a black transceiver.
“So where are they?” Eric’s father looked at Steffie’s father, who just shrugged.
The two armour clad figures looked at each other. The gold one shrugged. Both sets of armour shimmered away to leave two twenty-four year olds, one a black clad young man with a black widow’s peak and the other a nondescript brown haired woman whose grey flying boots really were her most distinguishing feature. “You’d think”, said Eric to his cousin and partner in super herodom, “That with this sort of thing in the family, they would have been able to figure it out.”