Jack and I had all kinds of problems working together. He snapped at me for every little thing, and was generally a grouch. I didn’t hold it against him. He had good reason. Hopefully, after a while, he’d forgive me, and we’d go back to being a well-oiled team. I missed my partner, maybe even more than I missed my boyfriend.
We had a couple of routine calls, one heart attack false alarm. Guy was just having a panic attack. An old lady fell and broke a hip, a motorcyclist took a tumble, broke a leg and lost some skin, and a guy rolled his brand new sports car. The car took a lot more damage than he did, but he acted so heartbroken, you’d have thought it was his wife lying on her back, shattered and bent.
Then we got a call about a possible OD, someone passed out on the sidewalk downtown on 6th, unresponsive. It was originally dispatched to one of the other units, Angela and the new guy, Terry, that I’d almost gotten saddled with. They turned it down. Too far away, they said.
That made a little irritated line appear between Jack’s brows. Their last reported position was only a few blocks from there. A lot of the EMTs don’t like taking OD calls. They can get violent, and are almost always pretty disgusting.
We were only a quarter mile away, ourselves. Jack radioed in and took it.
Jack’s taken calls to haul away gunshot wounded bystanders in the middle of gang fights. He doesn’t scare easy. He also always keeps an up close style of taser on his belt, even when he’s off duty, and I’ve seen him take out a Protector with it. Jack can take care of himself.
And besides, after being one of the three only super-powered defenders of the city of Austin for a few weeks while the Protectors were off making headlines, I felt pretty confident of my own ability to handle one, lone addict if things got rough.
Then, we arrived, I saw who it was, and my confidence in my ability to handle him dropped several notches. It was the obnoxious troll that I’d run across at Stubb’s on my date with Vlad. The six-four mountain of bad-mannered jerk was no longer unconscious. He was awake, pissed, and tossing bar bouncers off of him like a Heisman trophy winner shedding linemen.
Apparently, the bouncers of the bar he’d staggered out of before passing out on the sidewalk had tried to get him to go drool on himself somewhere else. A stinking passed out drunk in front of your bar isn’t the best advertisement. The jerk had woken up mad and started taking it out on anyone within range.
We really could’ve used the Elvis Avenger about then.
Jack and I approached the big guy cautiously. There were a half dozen well-muscled men lying around the area groaning in pain or crumpled in heaps.
I tried to get Jack to hang back and let me handle it. “This guy’s a supe, Jack. I’ve seen him before. Strength and invulnerability enough to take out a Protector.”
Jack just gave me a dirty look and kept walking. “Hey, big guy. How about you let us give you a ride home?”
The troll panted and wobbled on his feet. He seemed to have trouble focusing on us. “She kicked me out, the bitch.” He rubbed his hand over his face.
Jack made sympathetic noises. He edged slowly closer to the massively muscled wall of drunken rage. “That bites. Women can really mess you up.”
“She cheated on me!” the troll yelled at Jack. “We’ve only been dating a few weeks, and she’s already got some other guy.” He gestured wide and took out a bike rack.
Jack snorted. “Same exact thing just happened to me. What is it with women, huh?” He got within arm’s reach of the troll and didn’t get hit. “I’ll tell you what. You can crash on my couch until you find a new place.”
“Really?” The guy blinked a couple of times and focused carefully on Jack’s face. “I don’t even know you, dude.”
“It’s no big deal. Just try not to break anything, and be nice to my cat.” Jack got under one of the guy’s tree trunk arms, and started guiding him toward the ambulance.
“I like cats. Thanks, dude. You’re great, you know that?” The troll hugged Jack and I could hear him gasp for air. “I won’t forget this.”
Jack patted the guy on the back, and shoved him off hard so he could catch a breath.
“I’m Brad,” the troll said and thrust a callused hand big enough to palm a basketball at him as he staggered along. “Brad Spiers.”
“Jack Nguyen.” Jack squeezed his big hand and kept him moving, one staggering half step at a time.
Brad? The obnoxious drunken super jerk was named Brad?!
I’d just stayed out of the way during this whole thing. Jack clearly had things under control. I opened one of the back double doors of the ambulance, figuring I could help with that at least.
Brad, the obnoxious troll, squinted at me. “YOU!” He pointed a wobbly finger at me. “You’re that scaly dude’s girlfriend! I remember you.”
“Vlad is not my boyfriend, Jack is.”
“I am not,” Jack said.
He looked at Jack under his arm, and somehow his drunken brain made the connection. “You’re the one who cheated on Jack!”
“I did not cheat on … well I mean, not exactly.”
Jack raised one eyebrow like Mister Spock. I could never do that.
“Okay, well sort of, but it was just one date, and Vlad saved my life. I kind of owed him.”
Brad shoved Jack aside, grabbed me by both arms just under the shoulders, and lifted me up off my feet so he could bellow in my face. “You two-timing, fickle little bitch!” He shook me a little to emphasize each syllable.
His breath was enough to make me dizzy. What did he do? Drink the whole bar?
“Put her down,” Jack said calmly. “I got this.”
Brad didn’t even seem to register that Jack was talking.
“What is it with women? Why do you do this to us?”
“Put me down!” I said. His hand was bruising the heck out of my right arm, and the shaking was getting old.
“I treated you great,” Brad said, half sobbing as he shook me. “Bought you stuff, told you you were hot. What did I do wrong?” Brad’s drink fuzzled brain was not going in a direction I wanted to see through.
There was no way my arms were moving so I kicked Brad as hard as I could in the family jewels.
He bellowed like a wounded elk, but instead of dropping me, he lifted me higher so I couldn’t reach to kick him where even supes tend to be a bit tender. “Bitch!” He slammed my back against the still closed ambulance door hard enough to knock my breath out.
“Um, Jack, a little help here?” I gasped.
I saw Jack pull out his taser and thought things were going to get better. Then a teeth jarring, agonizing jolt made my legs and body jerk uncontrollably.
Apparently, Brad wasn’t affected by electricity, but he made one heck of a conductor. I, on the other hand, reacted to electricity just like anyone else would.
Even after Jack stopped with the taser, I just sort of twitched for a while.
Brad whipped around to face Jack, letting my limp, twitchy self dangle by one arm. “Dude, that wasn’t cool.”
“Neither is slamming my girl… partner around,” Jack said. “Let her go.”
“Bitch cheated on you, dude.” He held me up to show him like a twitchy rag doll visual aid.
I think I drooled on myself. Not exactly one of my most shining moments.
“Yeah, I know,” Jack said. He stepped in close so that my body blocked Brad’s view of his hand as he reached into his back pocket. He pulled out a shiny metal tube, popped a protective plastic tip off with his thumb, and I realized it was a syringe.
Jack reached up with his left arm and patted Brad’s shoulder. With his right hand, he jabbed that needle into the crook of the beefy arm that held me. “I appreciate the thought, though. This’ll help you sleep. We’ll talk more in the morning.”
Brad twitched a little when the needle went in smooth as silk, and he looked dimly surprised. “Needles don’t work on me. Couldn’t even get a measles shot when I was a kid.”
His eyes rolled up into his head and he collapsed in a 400 pound heap. Fortunately, he fell backward into the ambulance, not on me.
Jack twirled the syringe like an old west gunfighter with a six shooter, picked up the plastic tip off the ground and put it back on. “That’s because vaccination guns don’t have diamondite needles.”
That’s because diamondite needles cost like $500 apiece. We have a few at the hospital. Some supes with invulnerability, that’s the only thing that’ll pierce it, so we keep a couple on hand. But they’re under lock and key, and you have to sign about 20 forms to get them.
When I could talk again, I asked Jack, “Where did you get a syringe full of supe effective sedative with a diamondite needle?”
Jack shrugged as he helped me shakily to my feet. “Got the syringe same place I got the taser, on-line. I got the sedative from one of the docs who owes me. I didn’t think there would be time to radio in a request if I really needed it.”
“That’s what I call being prepared for anything.”
Jack grinned and gave me a three fingered salute. “I'm an eagle scout. I’m always prepared.”
I looked down at the sleeping giant, half in and half out of the ambulance.
“So, Mr. Prepared, how are we going to get this guy into the unit?”
Jack shrugged, grinning wider. “That’s your department, partner.” He actually whistled as he got in the drivers’ seat of the ambulance, leaving me to deal with 400 lbs of unconscious stinking drunk.
At least Jack was in a better mood.