Origins #22 Max

It had been five days since I became a fugitive.

Four of them had been cold rainy miserable ones like today.
My secret identity hadn’t been released to the public, but wanted posters for Maximum hung next to Missing Persons for Maxwell King. I had managed to withdraw a few thousand dollars from dummy accounts before they were shut down, but that’s all I had. Billionaire to living under a bridge.
Glamorous accommodations aside, I hadn’t showered or shaved in five days, which couldn’t be healthy. Fall was almost over and winter was coming. Roosevelt City could drop to sub zero temperatures in early december, and if I didn’t want to freeze to death, I needed a place to stay. If I went to a homeless shelter I’d be caught. I didn’t have a stable job yet, so I didn’t want to spend my food money, but all of the my friends and family were trying to hunt me down.

I had No-one.

Except…

No. I barely even know him, and besides. He’s a supervillain.

So are you

He’d probably just turn me in for money.

He owes you

Not nearly enough for me to trust him.

What choice do you have? He’s obviously good at hiding, since a normal Level Seven would be found by now. He also doesn’t kill, and chose to save you.

He probably worked with Rahab.

If he worked with Rahab, why was Rahab there? The Destabilizer obviously wasn’t his, and why would he kill all of those gangsters if he knew they’d be dumped in front of all the Heroes? It doesn’t add up.

It was a coincidence?

Call him. What harm would it do?

I pulled the encrypted phone out of my pocket, and dialed his number. I didn’t have the slip of paper, but I memorized all the numbers I knew so it didn’t matter.
It rang twice before he picked it up.
“Uh, Hello?”
“It’s Max.”
“Ok. First off, remember when I told you not to go back? I’m not going to say told you so, but-”
“Did you work with Rahab?”
“Rahab? Who’s Rahab?”
“Big dude, charcoal skin, red eyes and crystal, mind control, talks weird, has an energy arm-tail?”
“Never heard of-wait mind control?  You mean your little rampage wasn’t a real rampage?”
“I only attacked one man, and it was under a little bit of his influence. He heightened my aggression or something. Everyone else was killed by him.”
“Hold on.” A loud thump came through the receiver, probably him covering the microphone with his hand. Despite being muffled, I heard him say something like,“Carlos, how lively is bit that Max is dange-” followed by a bunch of unintelligible mumbling. He lifted his hand and continued speaking. “Okay. I believe you. Why were you calling?”
I took a deep breath.
“I need a place to hide.”
“No. I’m not hiding a fugitive.”
“I have a fake I.D and I don’t look like my poster. You have plausible deniability.”
“No.”
“I have money, and I can help pay for any expenses that you have. Please. I have nowhere else to go. If I don’t find somewhere to stay, I could -”
“Hold on.” He covered the microphone again, and I could hear “Car rose, how likely is it that living ith Max mends up with a net gain for me?” Another voice, too muffled to understand chimed in,  and he took his hands off the mic.
“Ok. Remember the restaurant I told you about?”

“South of the Border. We meet there?”
“Yea. Wear something casual, but don’t give away your identity.”
“I don’t have any clothes. I’ll buy some on the walk there, and Hotfoot?”
“Call me Zach.”
“ Thank you.”
“No problem, but food’s on you.”
“Got it.”

I hung up, and started jogging. It was ten miles away, but I was nothing if not in shape.

Don’t lie to yourself. You already are nothing

I pushed the little voice out of my head and focused on running. The two huge bags made it uncomfortable and weird to run, and garnered me some strange looks from other civilians. I ignored the, and pressed on through the rain. It was the first time my stubble had gotten wet and it was a weird sensation. In fact, as someone who was clean shaven his whole life, stubble itself felt wierd.

I arrived at the shopping mart about an hour later, and when no-one was looking I ducked away into a small alcove on the side, and beckoned my suit down. It had been hovering above me for the whole run, ready to leap into action if anything went wrong. I handed it the bags after grabbing a few twenties and went inside.

What did incospicous people wear? The Sunglasses and Hoodie was out, since everyone knew about it and it was raining. Trench coat and fedora didn’t work well if you weren’t a ninja turtle, and at best made you look like a loser, at worst made you look like a shooter. I decided on sweatpants, a cheep raincoat, and a Yankees hat. I bought the stuff without incident, but when I was walking out one guy noticed me. He was short and spray tanned, with slick brown hair. He grabbed me by the shoulder.

“Hey. Aren’t you that rich kid who went missing?”

I smiled, shook his hand off and tried to keep walking, while saying, “I’m sorry, you must have mistaken me for someone else.” He tried to grab me again, but I shook him off me and started power walking to the suit.

Crackle 

I turned around, and saw the man standing in a wide stance, pointing a bargain value taser at me. I sighed.

“That’s not going to hit me, and even if it did it would even slow me down. Put the taser down, and walk away.”

“Like hell. I need that money.”

He clicked the trigger and I caught the prongs with my left hand. The charge fizzled gainst the cybernetics, and died.

“Walk. Away.” I growled.

He dropped the smoking weapon, and ran away. I scanned my surroundings and saw around ten different people “discretely” calling 911.

I slipped away into the rain, got into my suit and rocketed over the rainy grey day.

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