In Pittsburgh, Commander Justice Jr. dashed to the jewelry store with its door hanging wide open. This call on the police scanner sounded like one Janus was sure to answer. Where is he?
A tied up man and a woman flew through the air and landed on the pavement.
Janus stepped out of the store. He posed for the security cameras. “That’ll teach you.”
The male thief said, “Aye, Guvnor, ye dun need to be beatin’ us up. We was ready to give up the moment we saw ye.”
Commander Jr. smirked. “That wouldn’t have been becoming for Jan’s ego. He wants to show that under all that Maybelline, he’s as tough as any guy.”
Janus glared. “You want a beat down?”
Commander Jr. stared back hard. “Dude, you challenged me.”
“But the ol’ cap said you couldn’t.”
“It’s his day off.” Thanks to you, Jan. Junior clinched his fist.
Janus clenched his fists. “All right, let’s get it on.”
“Not here. There’s a lot of expensive stuff around here, as well as people who have nothing to do with this fight.”
“How’d you like to see footage of us tearing this place apart uploaded to YouTube?”
“On the way here, I passed a partially built construction project. We can take an elevator up to the top.”
“Oh, but that’s such a clichéd superhero battleground.”
Commander Jr. smirked. “Glad that you approve. Come on. It’s about three blocks.”
The two walked out of the jewelry store and passed the Volt Commander Jr. had rented.
Janus pointed. “Hey, this your car?”
“I’ve been thinking about getting one.”
“Well, the Volt’s a good model.”
“I want to get an electric or a hybrid for my next car.”
Remind me to buy an SUV. “Any reason that you’re stalling?”
Janus laughed. “I figured, after this, we’ll find common ground, work together. Like Robin Hood and Little John.”
“Or Dark Mystic and the Sword.”
This kept Janus silent until they reached the construction site. Commander Jr. pressed the button by an elevator shaft. “It won’t open.”
Janus pressed another button. “Genius, that’s because they haven’t put in the elevator on that side yet. This one will take us up.”
The elevator door opened. Janus extended his hands out. “After you.”
Commander Jr. said, “I insist, after you.”
Janus smiled. “Very well.”
Commander Jr. got in the elevator after Janus did.
“Thirty-six floors,” Janus said. “Not quite The Pharaoh v. The Sword, but it’ll have to do. So how has your day been?”
As if this clown didn’t know. “I’m hot on the trail of Dark Mystic, but we just missed him, and we don’t have a clue where he is.”
Janus shook his head. “That’s too bad.”
The elevator dinged and the door opened.
Commander Jr. said, “But you do.”
Janus eyes went wide. Commander Jr. gave a first right cross to the jaw, sending Janus flying out the door. Commander Jr. heaved. “That was for Captain Justice, you punk.”
Janus puffed. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“You know exactly what.”
Janus charged. Commander Jr. jumped out of the way. Janus jumped on top of him.
Commander Jr. kicked Janus off. “You sabotaged the Justicemobile. We caught you on a surveillance camera. I got an e-mail with the video attached just after leaving Markum’s.”
Janus got up. “You think I’d be stupid enough to go there? You’d recognize me.” Janus lifted his fist in the air. “Come on, tough guy.”
Commander Jr. moved in, hands raised, bobbing and weaving. “Of course you didn’t go dressed like this. You wore blue coveralls.”
Janus sent a jab at his jaw.
Commander Jr. dodged and delivered a left hook to Janus’s shoulder. Janus stepped back. “Coveralls? Not my style.”
Commander Jr. kicked Janus’s solar-plexus. Janus grabbed his leg, threw him to the ground, and jumped on his back. Commander Jr. tossed Janus like a six-year-old thrown off a mechanical bull.
Commander Jr. panted. “You added your touch. A hood would’ve worn work gloves, but you wore your golden nylon gloves.”
Janus stood up. “Oh please, that would never stand up in court.”
“The only court we’re in is the court of my fists. And then there was the scene at Markum’s place. You know what we found?”
Janus slammed into Commander Jr. “Why don’t you enlighten me?”
Commander Jr. pushed back and knocked Janus over. “The feds didn’t know what it was until I put it together. It was gold latex paint, just like you wear.”
Janus stood and ran towards the elevator, Commander Justice, Jr. behind him. Janus ripped off the vacant elevator shaft’s door and threw it at Commander Jr. He dodged and continued to advance. Janus delivered a kick to his ribs. Pain ripped through him, and he collapsed, fighting to get air back into his lungs.
“Kid, I had high hopes for you. Might have been able to turn you, and you’d be my second in the new order. But you’re too smart, and now you’re a complication that has to be eliminated.”
Get to your feet, D.J. This guy’s gonna kill you.
He stood. Janus lunged, knocking him back to the ground. Janus landed on top and began to use his face for a speed bag. Commander Jr. kicked Janus in the stomach and threw the guy off. He stood as Janus did and ran at Janus. He aimed a jump kick at Janus’ jaw.
Janus grabbed his leg and spun him. Is Janus moving fast or did the world just speed up?
The granola bar Commander Jr. grabbed at the airport began to rebel.
It stopped. He was hanging upside down in the vacant elevator shaft.
Janus sighed. “Goodbye, kid.” Janus’s grip loosened on his legs.
Commander Justice Jr. hurtled head first towards the concrete thirty-six floors below.
So much for living two hundred years.
This concludes the web serial version of this story. The continuation of the Story Line is available is Laser and Sword, Issues 8 and 9 with the conclusion in the upcoming Issue 10.