“Hey!” he shouted.
The three men looked up from their pummeling and walked towards Zedd. They stepped from the dark shadows of the alley. Strangely dressed, these men were obviously locals.
Although two of them wore hats that covered their heads, it was apparent that they all had short hair and were perhaps in their mid-twenties. The stocky one who had thrown the punch stepped forward. Zedd looked back at Zark, making sure he was keeping his distance.
The stout man had a round face. He looked Zedd up and down with gray eyes that gave him away as a synth. Although, apparent years of wear and cheap replacements showed a rough use of his cell.
“Where you from?” he addressed Zedd.
Zedd looked down at him, not sure how to answer the question. The man shoved his chest, causing Zedd to take a step back.
“Where the fuck you from, man?” the man said angrily, now slowly pushing forward. The other three approached, spreading to block a quick escape.
Zark had approached from behind his father. One of the men knocked the cup of Coke from his hand. It landed in a splash, spilling ice and brown, syrupy liquid all over the ground.
Zedd was silent.
Zedd looked down, not meeting the stout man’s gaze. He spoke in a soft, dispirited voice,
“C’mon, I don’t want any trouble. Let’s just talk...” The man drew closer to Zedd, seizing the opportunity to intimidate.
The man smirked, trying to exploit Zedd’s apparent cowardice. He looked back at his cohort. Quickly, the man reared back to swing a wide right fist. He aimed for Zedd’s jaw, but was cut short. Zedd popped his elbow into the man’s temple before the swing could connect. His fist went over Zedd’s head. The man fell back, unconscious before he hit the ground. His head bounced off the concrete, leaving a splat of blood on the pavement where it made contact.
The other three men hesitated for a moment. Then the tallest one, covered head to toe in orange and black, leapt at Zedd. He landed a punch on Zedd’s cheek, but stumbled forward past him. Zedd landed a kick in his backside as he stumbled, sprawling him on the ground. The tall man’s hand had broken on the impact with Zedd, and he cradled it in pain.
A third man, leaner with light brown hair, jumped on Zedd from behind, grasping his neck in a headlock. With Zedd’s enhanced, synthetic strength, he grabbed his wrist and spun out of it, holding the man by the length of his twisted arm. Using the arm as a brace, Zedd kicked as hard as he could into the man’s ribs with a muffled crack, dropping him. Zedd’s face was red from the hit, and his lip bleeding. He turned towards the last man to face him. The lone man stood there, in a half-squat position, unsure if he was going to fight.
“Fuck you Verus assholes!” the man sputtered. Zark stood in shock at the events that had just taken place. The man Zedd had dropped still held his broken fist, rolling on the ground at his feet.
“Verus?” Zark thought for a moment at the word. “We’re not Verus!” Zark yelled in defense. The man looked confused. He hesitated for a moment before running away.
Zedd walked into the alleyway towards the man that they had seen being punched. He was lying on the ground, the side of his head bleeding. He clumsily stood when Zedd approached.
“Hey, you’re safe now dude.” The young man looked up
He was maybe a little older than Zark, and had unkempt black hair, roughly shoulder length. He looked confused.