The Weight of Responsibility(Vi short story)

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KuzAnn

Senior Member

01-13-2013

Vi strutted along the line of enforcers, her eyes running over their armor and personal hextech items in a quick inspection. Yes, they were ready for a serious mission now. Even Caitlyn had complimented her on how well she’d pulled the Enforcers Division together, though she had to ask the Sheriff for a little help more than a few times.

“Alright, my little enforcelings,” Vi grinned at the collective nickname she had given her division officers, who chuckled and nudged each other in the line. Some were brash like Vi, others more cautious, but most of them had a decent sense of humor and excellent capacity for brawling and getting into the thick of a fight to disperse the enemy. She’d been working with these men and women for about a week now, preparing them for the rough patrol routes in the seedier parts of the city and readying them for an incident such as this. Caitlyn had called upon Vi and her unit for a superior threat, and now it was their time to shine.

“Now this would be the part where I say something inspirational or whatever, if I was Sheriff Cupcake,” Vi let out a bark of a laugh, which was echoed by the men and women before her; they knew what she would say next. “But we all know what we’re here to do, right? We’re here to protect Piltover and smash some scumbag face!” she grinned, and slammed the knuckles of one gauntlet into the palm of the other with a loud clang.

The statement got a loud cheer out of the enforcers, who pumped a fist in the air or stamped their feet in anticipation. As some of the most zealous officers in the force, it was no shock that they were so eager to get their fists and weapons into something, and Vi only helped to encourage the attitude provided it wasn’t their own allies they were attacking. Collateral damage was something strictly forbidden by Caitlyn, and while Vi was confident that the Sheriff might overlook it in her case, she didn’t want to risk it with her enforcers. They were part of her division, and she would look out for them.

“Alright, you already got the plan from Cupcake so move out,” Vi motioned for the enforcers to move along and followed them out of the empty warehouse they’d been using as an impromptu meeting room. The enforcers spread out and moved to their positions around the hidden line of Caitlyn’s regular officers, ready to engage any criminals who tried to break through or capture any who tried to run.

Vi jogged along an alley between two warehouses, intent on reaching Caitlyn before the action started. She found the Sheriff giving last-minute instructions to a few emergency workers who were on-hand incase something went wrong. “Hey Cupcake, anything new?”

Caitlyn’s eyebrow twitched upon hearing Vi use the annoying new nickname, but other than that she showed no sign of having even noticed it. “No new developments. You’ll still cover the other side,” she held up her radio so Vi could see. “Don’t forget to warn me if you decide to do something.”

“Yeah yeah,” Vi took out her own radio and tossed it from hand to hand as she strolled away. A stiff sea breeze—provided by the ocean, which was within a mile of their location—blew up behind her, funneled into a weak gust by the narrow alley.

The other side of the building complex was a bit more quiet than the one she had just come from, and Vi had to admit that she didn’t know how long she would be able to sit still and wait. She was just about to radio Caitlyn to ask if the incursion had begun at all when the wind shifted. It carried the faintest scent of... Vi couldn’t pinpoint it right away, but she knew the smell. Some sort of engine oil. She ran through her mental list as a nearby officer noticed her puzzling.

“Something wrong, miss?”

“Engine oil,” Vi held up a finger for the man to fall silent, which he did without question. The oil had a grungy smell, not refined like the varieties used in Piltover; there had been environmental mandates set in place that prohibited commercially-used oils from having toxic ingredients in them. But it was also heavy, with a stronger “body” than the oils used in techarriage engines. Vi took her radio in hand and dialed Caitlyn’s frequency.

“This channel is supposed to be reserved for emergencies,” Caitlyn’s voice crackled quietly from Vi’s radio, calm and collected as usual. “What happened?”

“Something’s not right, I’m still trying to figure it out,” Vi held the radio close and cupped in one glove in an attempt to avoid being overheard by the officers nearby, who were giving her odd looks at that very moment. The scent drifted toward her again, and this time she could pick out a distinct metallic tang within it, accompanied by a harsh, sour smell. Vi blinked. “They’ve got tanks,” she just barely managed to keep her voice down.

“What kind?” Caitlyn sounded remarkably calm given the implications.

“Zaunite chemitanks from the smell. I ran across the same engine oil a few times before I went legit, the grease they use on the cannons, too. It’s got a nasty sour smell, real heavy, kinda metallic, you can’t go wrong when you get the two together.”

The sigh Caitlyn let out could be heard clearly through Vi’s radio. “You never considered telling me that there were individuals smuggling Zaunite tank equipment into Piltover?” she paused a moment and gathered her thoughts. Vi could almost see her pressing her thumb and index finger against the bridge of her nose, as it was a very common gesture Caitlyn used while thinking under pressure.

“I’m gonna go in.”

“Alright,” Caitlyn’s reply came quickly, and her acceptance of Vi’s plan was a surprise to the Enforcer. “Alert your enforcers, the attack will begin as soon as you move in. I don’t have armor piercing rounds with me today, so I’ll need a little time to spot weak points before I can join in.” On her perch atop an adjacent warehouse, Caitlyn readied her rifle and trained her sights on the complex below. She spotted the garages big enough to contain the chemitanks almost instantly, and scolded herself for being lax enough for them to be present in the first place. How they managed to keep such a fact hidden from her would be revealed in due time.

Vi grinned; she’d never had the opportunity to brawl with one of Zaun’s vaunted chemitanks, after all. She tuned her radio to the frequency used by the enforcers, and immediately every one of her men and women perked their ears as their radios crackled to life. “Change of plans, ladies and gents. They’ve got tanks and we need to rush them before the others can move in. And whoever brings down the most gets free drinks on me!” Vi clipped the radio on her belt and pushed past the officers in the line, who were even now being informed of the change by Caitlyn.

Caitlyn had ensured that her police force surround the complex quietly and without alerting the criminals to her presence, so there was a good chance that they were still unaware of their presence even now. Vi had to stop herself from slinking up on tiptoe just for the fun of it and crossed the open ground at a jog. The sentries should have been neutralized by now as well, either with tranquilizer darts from the officers on the ground or a well-aimed shot from Caitlyn if absolutely necessary.

As Vi neared the closest garage, she was able to pick out the sound of clattering tools and even that of a large engine being started. That would be one of the tanks. The crooks probably had well-hidden silence or noise cancellation spells to shield them from sharp ears, since such noises would be noticeable from outside the compound on quieter days.

Vi stopped just short of the rolling steel door and took a few moments to examine it: roughly twelve feet high, twenty feet wide, slats likely reinforced or padded to reduce noise. Now, how to remove it in the most personally entertaining way possible... The door was too big to simply tear off its frame, even for someone of Vi's strength. Vi regretted not being able to yank the door down; ripping such a big rolling steel door off its anchor like a wimpy little shower curtain would have definitely been a story worth telling over and over again. She would have to see about improving that once everything was over and she had some time to herself.

Well, there was nothing for it. Vi would have to do this the old fashioned way. She shook out her arms and took five steps back, one fist raised and charging as she prepared to make her entrance.

The workers who had been toiling away on their various projects were caught completely by surprise when Vi bashed clean through their rolling steel door, and several fell to her fists before any had a proper chance to react. Those nearest to the Zaunite chemitank grabbed any nearby ammo they could get their hands on and jumped inside the armored vehicle. A few moments later, the tank's engine roared to life and the metal giant began to move, its main gun swiveling in Vi's direction.

Vi dashed to the nearest bench and grabbed the man who stood in front of it, not to use him as a shield for the tank fire but to use as a projectile to take out a group of guards who had drawn their guns on her. Her aim was spot-on, and the hapless mechanic bowled straight into the line of guards and knocked them back several feet before they finally hit the floor. She then turned to the tank, which had almost managed to swivel enough to set its cannon's sights on her.

"Aw yeah," Vi dropped into a lower stance and surged forward. "You're just the guy I was waitin' for!" She positioned herself beneath the chemitank's cannon and grabbed onto it with one glove as it began to roll forward. With one heave of her arm Vi pulled herself up onto the main body of the vehicle and got to work on the cannon barrel. It was made of some fairly thick steel, but in the end it was no match for Vi's gauntlets.

Soon the first tank's cannon was bent upward and toward itself, a position that would prevent the men inside from firing if they were smart. The top hatch opened as Vi finished bending the cannon out of shape and a man with a rifle took aim at her. Vi looked up at the sound of the hatch clanging against the tank's top. She grabbed the barrel of the rifle and slammed her knuckles into the mechanic's face in one smooth movement, then wrenched it from his his hands. "Thanks, buddy," Vi raised the rifle and jammed it butt-first into the tank's left hand tread mechanism. "That's just the thing I needed."

The screech of malforming metal filled the garage as Vi turned on the two tanks that were approaching her from behind, leaving the first to spin uselessly in a circle. All told, there had been ten tanks spread around the compound, and soon all were ruined thanks to the surprise attack; had the criminals been prepared for a confrontation, the outcome might have been a grim one for Caitlyn’s men. Vi’s enforcers gradually found their way to her in order to report their success in person.

“Oho, so you guys were only able to take down three altogether? Guess I’m not buying anyone drinks tonight cause I took down three of ‘em solo,” Vi grinned and gave her enforcers a shrug of fake regret.

“Actually, you owe me a drink,” Caitlyn strolled up to the group, her rifle in hand and a smirk on her face. “I personally incapacitated no less than four tanks.”

What?” Vi turned to Caitlyn, a look of surprise and disbelief on her face. “I call bullsht, there’s no way you took down four!”

“Just ask your enforcers,” Caitlyn gestured toward the group with her free hand. “They’ll tell you who got the most.”

“Yeah, sorry chief,” one of the enforcers spoke up. “We saw her do it. Shot the treads right off the tanks.”

Vi was in the process of giving Caitlyn her best stink eye when an explosion rocked the building. The harsh smell of a chemical fire followed soon after, and thick black smoke billowed from a door that had been blown off its hinges by the force of the explosion.

The nearest emergency worker tossed a fire extinguisher to Caitlyn as she made her way to the door. She retrieved a mask from a pouch of holding on her belt and waited for two firefighters to move in before going down herself.

Since she wasn’t about to let Caitlyn have all the fun, Vi snatched a mask from the nearest firefighter she could find and went in as well. The door led to a set of stairs that disappeared into smoke-stained shadow, which was even now beginning to clear as the firefighters did their work. Vi arrived as the firefighters were moving deeper into the large workshop, and one of those nearest the back shoved a fire extinguisher into her hands when he saw her.

Caitlyn was combing over the pieces of the workshop's equipment that were still intact, moving along as the firemen extinguished the flames farther and farther in. She was either unaware that Vi had followed her or choose to ignore the fact. The blast had ruined much of the evidence, but Caitlyn was ever hopeful that there might be just enough left to find.

Vi turned the fire extinguisher over a few times, then held the tank carefully in her left hand while pinching the nozzle between the thumb and index finger of her right. She pointed the nozzle at a smouldering piece of table and gave the trigger an experimental squeeze. A jet of white foam shot out of the nozzle with a sound that was half hiss, half growl and blanketed the entire table remnant, giving it the appearance of an oddly-shaped snowdrift. A childish grin spread across Vi's face at the sight, and she dashed to the next area in need of extinguishing before the firefighters could get to it.

Most of the workroom had been destroyed in the explosion, much to Caitlyn's disappointment. Whoever had set the fire had been careful to put the most sensitive documents and equipment in the center of the destruction, where they would almost certainly be obliterated. "Any bodies?" she asked as one of the firefighters approached her.

"No ma'am," he shook his head and used the sleeve of his coat to remove some of the soot from his face mask. "No bodies, but we did find something interesting."

"Show me."

The firefighter nodded and led her to the far end of the lab, where a large bookcase rested on its side. Strangely, one of its corners had sunk into the ground, as if it had fallen into soft sand, or onto a trap door.

"Well," Caitlyn knelt before the bookcase and examined the sunken corner, which was cradled by a sheet of bent metal. "I have a fairly good guess as to where this goes."

Behind her, Vi was busily using her fire extinguisher to make extra sure that nothing was aflame, or even remotely warm. She had quickly grown tired of stationary fire extinguishing, and was now using her extinguisher to wet down the floor in front of her so she could slide around as she squirted everything. Since she was not being overly destructive and outranked everyone but Caitlyn, none of the officers could work up the courage to ask Vi to stop and simply left her to it as they gravitated toward their Sheriff.

Caitlyn stood and began clearing books off the shelves to make the whole piece easier to move, careful to stack them to the side in case they had any useful information. By the care taken in destroying everything else such a chance was slim, but Caitlyn refused to allow any potential information to be overlooked all the same.

With the books stacked a safe distance away and the shelf empty, she and one of her officers were able to push it off the trap door it had fallen into. The bookshelf fell to its other side with a loud crash and splintered into several pieces.

"Now, let's see—" Caitlyn had been about to kneel and lift the trapdoor when a thick stream of extinguisher foam splattered across her back, instantly soaking her clothes clean through. Several large globs of foam slid off Caitlyn's back and landed on the floor as she slowly straightened, each splot incredibly loud as the officers and firefighters held their collective breath for the coming storm. She whirled, and her eyes immediately settled on Vi, who still held the fire extinguisher she had been playing with earlier.

Vi had slipped and accidentally sprayed Caitlyn as she slid past, but that didn't stop her from pointing an accusatory finger at the officer standing next to her. The man gave her an angry glare and sidled away to stand with the other officers next to Caitlyn. Her attempt to pass the blame having failed, Vi gave Caitlyn her best innocent grin and braced herself for the worst.

Caitlyn glowered at Vi for a few moments, then held up two fingers. "That's two drinks you owe me now."

"Aw, what? Come on!"

"Unless you want to pay to have this cleaned instead, on top of the first drink," Caitlyn lifted one soaking layer of skirt with mock daintiness, showing another layer of equally wet fabric underneath.

"Ugh, fine. Two drinks," Vi didn't even want to imagine how much it might cost to get Caitlyn's outfit washed, it was probably dry clean only or something silly like that.

Caitlyn turned back to the trap door. "Now, as I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted," she shot a glance at Vi, who had been silently mocking her behind her back and immediately ceased when Caitlyn's eyes fell on her. "Let's see where this leads, shall we?"

Vi tossed the fire extinguisher aside with a loud clang and strutted up to the trap door. "Well why didn't ya say so?" she ripped the door off its hinges with one hand and stood aside so Caitlyn could pass. It would be best to behave for at least a little while as things stood now.

"Thank you," Caitlyn's voice held no genuine gratitude, and she shot Vi a glance that warned her to stop fooling around before she caused a serious problem.

"Yer welcome, Cupcake," Vi mumbled just loudly enough for only Caitlyn to overhear. She'd gotten the message, time to stop fooling around for a little bit.

Caitlyn accepted a lantern provided by one of her officers and stalked down the hidden staircase, eyes flicking from the stairs before her feet to those farther down while Vi and a few other officers filed in behind her. Her careful search yielded a potential clue about ten feet down, in the form of a cracked vial containing traces of white powder. She took a sample bag from a belt pouch and carefully put the vial inside, then continued on down the stairway.

About sixteen feet beyond the place the vial was found, the stairs came to a final halt at a large steel door. It was somewhat rusty, and the smell of rank seawater hung heavy in the air of the landing as Caitlyn eased the door open. The hinges creaked loudly, and the passage beyond ran ahead and to the left of the door, both ways too long for the lantern's light to penetrate.

It was the Piltover Underground, a complex network of tunnels that had been beneath the city's streets longer than any could remember. Of course the criminals would use this as an escape route.

"I'll see if I can pick up a trail," Caitlyn stepped out into the tunnel and turned back to Vi and her other officers. "Two of you come with me. Vi?"

"Hmm?" Vi had been examining the tunnel when Caitlyn called her name. "Yeah?"

"Get back up top and help our mechanics examine the tanks and other contraband we found, write down anything interesting you find or that you can connect to dealings you witnessed back in your criminal days."

Vi frowned and glanced down the tunnel again; she wanted to be a part of any excitement Caitlyn happened to run into. Though now that she thought about it, examining the tanks would likely be entertaining as well.

"There's no guarantee we'll be able to catch up," Caitlyn was already examining the mud at the party's feet, searching for any hint that might tell her what direction to pick. "But there is a guarantee that you'll be able to look at those big lovely chemitanks and perhaps learn something if you go up, right?"

"Yeah yeah," Vi lingered merely for the sake of acting difficult, then pushed past the other officers and started to climb the stairs.

The Enforcer arrived to find the building complex in chaos as criminals were carted off to Headquarters and the contraband loaded up for transport. She hitched a ride with one of the groups hauling a tarp-covered tank and arrived back at Headquarters within half an hour. The tanks were indeed interesting, though Vi didn't find anything worth adding to her gauntlet design.

Vi was still examining the tanks and the modifications made to them when Caitlyn and her group arrived back at Headquarters at nine in the evening. Finnegan arrived shortly after to inform Vi that the trail had gone cold at around five, and that Caitlyn had been trying to pick it up again ever since. It had been a good choice to examine the tanks after all; at least Vi had something to show for her work.

"She able to chat?" Vi rolled herself out from under the tank she had been dismantling, eager to show off what she'd discovered and perhaps learn what that white powder had been.

"Yes, but I must warn you she's not in the best of moods," Finnegan stepped aside as Vi got to her feet and stretched her back. "She might cheer up if you found something interesting on these."

"Yep, was already gonna do that," Vi snatched her notepad off the worktable as she passed and made her way up to Caitlyn's office.

Caitlyn had just sat down to a hot cup of tea when Vi entered her office. The Sheriff wore a thick blanket draped over her shoulders to ward off the residual chill of the Underground, and Vi wondered if she had taken the time to properly dry off during the course of her search. "I trust that you found more than I did," she set the cup down on her desk and got to her feet, revealing skirts that were stiff and somewhat wrinkled.

Vi felt relieved that she had opted to buy Caitlyn another drink rather than pay to get her outfit cleaned. "Yeah, they made some weird mods to the cannons," she passed the notepad to Caitlyn. "So did you find out what that white powder stuff was?"

"No, unfortunately,” Caitlyn briefly skimmed Vi’s notes, then looked up at her again. “There were only traces left, not enough for our lab to ID it,” she squinted at Vi’s notes. “Did you figure out what the modifications would be used for?”

“Yeah, some kinda gas projectile, they only had regular ammo at the garage though, so I guess they didn’t get to make it yet,” Vi leaned to her right to get a look at which part of her notes Caitlyn was going over.

After a few minutes of tense silence, Caitlyn let out an annoyed sigh and passed the notepad back to Vi, “Here, see if you can figure anything out tomorrow.” She sat down behind her desk again and took a large gulp of tea. “By the way, good job today. Your enforcers did very well, too.”

“Well just goes to show you shoulda put me in charge earlier,” Vi grinned, though her false bravado sounded painful to her own ears. There had been doubts on Vi’s side for the first few days, but she had managed to pull through.

Caitlyn let the comment slide and picked up a file to review while she finished her tea. “Seems that way,” her tone was light and relaxed, but Vi took the comment as a dismissal; there really wasn’t much else to say on the matter for now.

“Well, I’m gonna head out,” Vi stifled a yawn. “See ya tomorrow, Cupcake.”

“And you, Vi,” Caitlyn nodded at Vi as the Enforcer let herself out. Her mouth stretched into a satisfied smile once Vi was gone, and she leaned back in her chair. Who would have guessed that the best way to reign Vi in was to give her more responsibilities. The Enforcers Division was a success, and the task of running the group helped to channel Vi’s boundless energy into more useful avenues.

Caitlyn left her chair and went to the window, where the lights of Piltover illuminated the night sky. Her own burden of responsibility felt lighter after all this, too. It was a relief in all honesty, since Caitlyn hadn’t realized how bad the stress was until it was gone. The future seemed bright, all things considered.

And yet...

Caitlyn’s head tipped forward slightly, her eyebrows knit in thought. A threat was brewing, that was the surest thing, and now she had to find a way to unmask it. The window fogged with Caitlyn’s breath as she continued to think, reviewing all that had happened and trying to form a likely scenario for what might happen next. Finally she pinched the bridge of her nose and stepped away from the window. It was late, she needed to get some sleep if she were to return to work in peak condition on the morrow.
Whatever was out there waiting, Caitlyn felt glad for the fact that she would have Vi at her side when she faced it.


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KuzAnn

Senior Member

01-14-2013

Well, that's the end of this story. If you would like to read more from myself and Grand Viper(we talk a lot about the champs and edit each others' stuff), be sure to have a look at Spark. It's not a direct sequel to this story, but it takes place afterward. I imagine the baddies behind the secret plot are gonna lay low for a while anyway.


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Grand Viper

Senior Member

01-15-2013

Slight bump, just want to comment on how much fun brainstorming with you'ses was. I'm really happy with what we got for Vi and Jayce and even Caitlyn out from these stories.


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jujitsu788

Senior Member

01-15-2013

Just thought I'd chime in here. Your work is excellent, and personally I love the style you write in. Keep up the great work :P


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KuzAnn

Senior Member

01-16-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grand Viper View Post
Slight bump, just want to comment on how much fun brainstorming with you'ses was. I'm really happy with what we got for Vi and Jayce and even Caitlyn out from these stories.
Oh yes, I think there will be some fun times ahead with these three for sure!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jujitsu788 View Post
Just thought I'd chime in here. Your work is excellent, and personally I love the style you write in. Keep up the great work :P
I'm glad that you enjoyed it. :D I was actually experimenting a bit with the style in this one by trying to completely eliminate the word "said". It's nice to hear that someone liked it that way. :)


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KuzAnn

Senior Member

01-26-2013

Bump!


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KuzAnn

Senior Member

03-29-2013

Bump.


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Damnnation12

Senior Member

03-29-2013

Bump succesful
Reading this all, I would kiss you right now.

And I just pictured her being wet, lmfao.

Jolly good story, I can't really give it a rating because I haven't wrote a story.


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KuzAnn

Senior Member

04-02-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Damnnation12 View Post
Bump succesful
Reading this all, I would kiss you right now.

And I just pictured her being wet, lmfao.

Jolly good story, I can't really give it a rating because I haven't wrote a story.
I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed it.


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coffeeman9

Senior Member

07-28-2013

Bumpin just to say that I've read a few of GV's stories and yours and I must say, though the majority of fanfics are a plethora of logical fallacies, comma splices, grammar errors and spelling mistakes, ya'lls is some of the best works outside of published writers. You guys may have inspired me to start short fiction. Best of luck to ya'll and keep up the good work