Trouble With Heroes; or, Ballistic's Bad Day

Christopher M. Hayes ©

"Please explain to me, just one more time, how it happened."

Ballistic squirmed a bit in his chair. He was in the extra-large chair, the one specially made for the eight foot and over ops. Ballistic was in fact just under seven feet, but the mass of jointed kevlar and teflon armor that covered most of his body gave him a bit of extra girth. He still had the targeting goggles from his helmet over his eyes.

"I'm sorry."

"I know."

"No, really, I'm sorry." Ballistic scratched the McDonald's logo on his shoulder, one of the twenty one corporate logos scattered across his uniform, in addition to our Justice Commando insignia.

"You're worried about that Happy Meal deal, aren't you?"

"Well, yeah. I really liked the action figure. The little kids loved it."

"A few less love it now, though, right?"

A few tears emerged from under his goggles.

"Our lawyers have been on the phone with McDonald's corporate office for two hours. This may be salvageable. Maybe."

The mass of body armor squirmed uncomfortably in the chair. I tried again.

"All right. So you find out the was a problem at First Chemical Bank..."

"Right", Ballistic chimed in. "I was on patrol in that part of town and I hear over the police radio that there's a problem at the bank. So I figure, ya know, we're on a retainer from them and all, so I should go and see what's going on."

"Good thinking."

His teary cheeks turned to a smile. "Thanks. So I got to the bank, and the Flaming Bunyip comes flying out of the building. Not carrying any money or nothing."

"It's kind of hard to carry bundles of cash when your whole body's on fire."

"Then why rob the bank?"

"First Chemical invests heavily in mining the Australian Outback. The Flaming Bunyip is a terrorist for the Aboriginal Liberation Front. Burning up their money is a symbolic attack against the bank."

"Oh." Ballistic's face went blank. I urged him to continue.

"Well, he came flying out of the bank. I used the loudspeaker and told him to stop --"

"Which line did you use?"

"Number seven."

"'Halt in the name of the law, evil doer, and turn yourself over to the Justice Commandos?'"


"Good. Please continue."

"Well, he didn't stop or anything, just kinda hovered there for a second. Then he shot this big ball of fire at me. It kinda singed a bit, but, ya know, it wasn't too bad. I'm a tough guy, right? So I turn the minigun on him and he flies off."

"But you didn't get off a shot, right?"

"No, some of the wires in the suit must have shorted out when he shot the fireball at me, 'cause the gun wouldn't work. So I took off after the guy. I caught up to him a couple of blocks later."

"That's when you used the missile?"

"Yeah. I figure, 'heat seeking missile, big flaming flying guy. How can I go wrong?'"

"You never thought that the missile would have been damaged along with the gun?"


"So that's when you fired the missile..."


"...and blew up the elementary school."


"I'm sorry."

"You've mentioned that. Look, don't say anything else, don't talk to anyone. Just lie low for a couple of days. I'll call you when things get settled."



Ballistic left by the window. His jetpack caused a few small fires in the carpet, but that's why I always keep a fire extinguisher behind the desk. I turned on CNN.

"Dual tragedy in Chicago today as two of the city's best known superhero firms inadvertently caused hundreds of deaths in separate incidents earlier today. First, we take you live to the smoldering remains of Wrigley Field, where..."

Good. Danger, Inc.'s little fiasco with the mini-nuke was still getting more press. I turned on the intercom to my secretary.


"I'm done with Ballistic. You may as well start putting the calls through."

"Good luck, boss."

The phone rang almost immediately. "Justice Commandos, Captain Ares speaking...we have no comment at this, Ballistic is currently in a debriefing and is not available for questions...our press secretary will have all of the details at our press conference tonight..."


About the author, Christopher Hayes:

He lives in Bloomington, Indiana with his wife, Amy. He works for a trucking insurance company as a safety and loss control representative where he helps to keep big trucks from flipping over. Christopher is currently attempting to complete his M.A. in Criminal Justice from Indiana University.

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