Pantheon
Flying High Over the City

by ElenaRoan

Alternate ATF Universe: Pantheon

Character Focus: Vin, Chris

Disclaimer: Donít own any of them, written purely for enjoyment. Mog created the ATF universe.

Betas: Geris (Grammar and Spelling), Michelle (Comprehension)

Summary: In a world where super powered heroes and villains roam the skies and streets, the Seven are still making a name for themselves catching crooks the old fashioned way. None of them are powered...or are they?


Prologue: World We Know?

"You joining us at Inez's tonight, Vin?" Bucks voice made the sharpshooter turn his head to regard him from where he was preparing to leave for the day.

"Nah, got stuff I need to do 'round m' neighbourhood."

Buck frowned in mild disappointment but let him return to his preparations.

"One must wonder what it is you do around that troubled neighbourhood of yours," Ezra commented.

"Hell Ez, there's always someone's fence, roof or something-or-other needing repairs. A kid needing to be steered away from the gangs' influence," Vin returned, a smile flitting across his face.

"Call me if you need help, Vin," Chris stated from where he was taking his coat from the stand. Vin just flashed a grin at him.

None of the team were comfortable with Vin's stated evening activities; night-time was dangerous enough even if you didn't add in the super-powered maniacs that were becoming ever more common. Something which had undoubtedly led to one of the superheroes sporadically calling the city his home rather than it just being a stop on the superhero patrol circuit. Vin hated the idea that one of 'his kids' would end up in the way of one of the super villains and the rest of the team hated that he inevitably decided to track down this, that or another kid when there had been a number of super powered encounters. That Vin lived in Purgetorio, the part of the city where villains of all descriptions inevitably headed, did not help.

The justice system and law enforcement had initially hated the need for super powered heroes, even going as far as labelling them vigilantes. But it had quickly become obvious that ordinary law enforcement could not handle the villains and the system had grudgingly adapted to the new requirements. At first the heroes had been required to attend court and reveal their identities in order for convictions to be applied but after the first few instances, which resulted in the families and friends of the heroes being targeted, they changed it to allow a sworn statement from the hero under their codename or a recording of the incident. A central authority to govern the superhero community had come into existence and had eventually settled down to comprise a main team of a few constant heroes. Though in times of need nearly all heroes could be called in, the majority of heroes operated on their own or in 'independent' teams. Only the central command knew the real identities of the heroes and also had provisions for a hero to register those who would be in danger if their identity were ever compromised.

All this seemed immaterial to the ATF team, their focus on the more mundane criminals of the gun running world, though there was a liaison officer attached to the building in the event of a gun runner having powered help. For most of them, however, that world was light-years from their own. But it was far closer than any of them imagined.

Vin paused only to grab his coat on the way out; he'd forgotten it once only to have Nathan come fussing after him worrying that the cold would make him sick. Vin had just bit his tongue and made a point of remembering it after that.

Chapter 1: Hidden

Arriving home he tossed his coat on his couch with a satisfied smile. He was going out onto the streets that night, but not quite the way his friends expected.

A deliberate wave of his hand over an unremarkable and unadorned section of wall caused a small panel to appear, into which he tapped a short code. A door materialised beside the panel in response. The panel was keyed to his genetic signature and would not appear for anyone else.

Slipping through the door it sealed itself after him before disappearing again.

A few moments later he entered the control room of his small self contained 'base'. A smile flitted across his face as he remembered the encounter just two days previously. Buck had been in the wrong place at the wrong time and had found himself facing Static; a young super powered crook trying to make a name for himself.

Before he could do anything to the ladies' man he had found himself facing the resident superhero of Denver, the Silver Archer.

Vin ran his hand gently over the box attached to his utility belt before strapping it on.

Most people believed the Silver Archer was mute; Buck certainly did after the silver clad hero had asked him if he was ok using a voice modulator.

Slotting the covering over the buckle on the belt Vin made sure that everything was connected properly.

The resident hero of Denver was known for giving miniature DVD's with recordings of encounters rather than signed statements. Like the one he gave to the special police team, trained to deal with super powered people, when they had turned up in response to the incident with Buck.

Carefully tucking his hair in Vin pulled the hood of his outfit up over the top of his head and down over his eyes and nose, leaving only his mouth and chin exposed.

Buck was no exception to the rule that if a person looked at a superhero they never expect to see someone they know; he'd regaled his team-mates at the office with the story of the encounter and never once suspected.

Vin picked up the elegant bow that was his trade mark and smiled.

Tonight the latest villain to target Denver would face the Silver Archer, maybe they would rue the encounter, maybe they would just be angry at it. But as far as Vin Tanner was concerned that didn't matter, all that mattered was getting them off the streets.

He slipped out the secret entrance into the night, leaving his daytime persona behind.

Chapter 2: Unexpected Help

The breath was driven out of him as Jotun slammed him into the wall. The Silver Archer swore silently as he rolled to his feet, he was going to feel that tomorrow and keeping under Nathan's radar would be difficult.

The silver clad hero launched one of his concussive arrows at the big brute of a man, rocking him back on his heels slightly.

#You know what they say about all brawn and no brain,# he stated through the voice modulator, drawing a bellow from the overgrown thug before he charged.

If he hadn't just been slammed into a wall, if he hadn't had a crooked back to begin with, he would have been able to nimbly leap out of the way of the charge. As it was his back decided to let him know at that precise moment just how displeased it was with him and he stumbled allowing Jotun to catch him and pin him forcefully to the wall, knocking his bow loose in the process.

"Look who's laughing now, funny man," the near giant growled.

There was precious little leverage that the Silver Archer could use to his advantage and he held no illusions as to how he would fare going hand to hand against the brute. It was his accuracy with anything and everything that set him apart from everyone else and indeed had brought him to the attention of the United Heroes all those years ago when he still lived on the streets of Detroit. He steeled himself to use whatever he could to get free of the thug's hold.

A deafening 'crack BOOM' pre-empted anything he could have done, ripping the large man off of him but leaving him untouched.

He looked around in confusion and saw the black clad form of a hero who had appeared in the city, and indeed the whole superhero scene, a bare four days previously. Dark Thunder was his name, the Silver Archer recalled. He'd thought the other hero had been on a patrol when he'd first been seen, but that was obviously not the case as he was still around.

#Thanks,# the Silver Archer said through the voice modulator, his fingers lightly brushing the sensitive buttons located on the top of the box at his waist.

"My pleasure," Dark Thunder replied in a deep husky voice that tugged at the edge of the man in silver's memory though he couldn't place it. "Need any help?"

The Silver Archer hesitated for a moment before shaking his head. #I work alone.#

The black clad figure nodded in acceptance, his near glowing blond hair tracing the movement in the dark above the mask hiding his eyes.

The man in silver nodded in reply as the police squad turned up to take custody of Jotun.

After they each handed over a miniature DVD recording of the incident they went their separate ways.

The streets temporarily cleared of super powered threats for the night the Silver Archer slipped back in his secret entrance to change back into his daytime persona, take stock of the injuries he'd collected and grab some sleep. Tomorrow was another day and the job wouldn't wait for him to be ready to face it.

Epilogue: Strangers and Friends

Vin was already at his desk when JD bounced through the door.

"Did ya see the news, Vin?" The young computer expert exclaimed, his words nearly running into each other in a way that sometimes made Vin want to run him through a speed test. "That new hero, Dark Thunder, teamed up with the Silver Archer!"

"That would have been a sight to see," Vin drawled in reply.

"Was hoping you had seen it, Vin," Buck said as he joined them, having travelled slower than his younger companion. "It took place in Purgetorio."

Vin shook his head. "Didn't see it." Finishing silently to himself, 'Participated in it.'

"That's a pity. Did you find who you were looking for last night?"

"Yep, got him to where he belongs."

Buck grinned at the 'mundane' victory he thought Vin had achieved before sauntering over to his desk as Chris walked into the room.

Soon they were all focused on their work and pulling their usual antics.

---

The office all but emptied out as lunch rolled around, leaving Vin thankful that it was only he and Chris left. He'd managed, somehow, to dodge Nathan's desire to check him over thoroughly to make sure he hadn't injured himself during his 'search' the previous night. His back ached but he was not about to admit that to the medic.

Abruptly he was aware of Chris standing next to his desk. As he looked up at his boss the blond slid a couple of foil wrapped tablets onto his desk.

"I knew you wouldn't get anything for it," Chris stated softly.

Vin blinked and a slow smile spread across his face as he figured out why Dark Thunder's voice had sounded familiar.

"Guess the secret's out," the long haired man murmured as he picked up the tablets and quickly swallowed them, noting as he did so that they were of a type given out solely by the hero medical authority.

"I'll keep yours secret if you keep mine," Chris replied with a slight smile.

"Deal," Vin replied, his smile growing broader.

End

Feedback to: ElenaRoan78@yahoo.com.au