Before Midnight: Part 3

Joe restrained his response, hoping that he wasn’t grinding his teeth. The group didn’t need more right now. Something was off about Giles. He couldn’t put his finger on what. If that wasn’t enough, new people with powers were appearing.

Man-machine, of all people, had visited by his office to tell him about it. Wearing a cheap suit, the kid claimed to be starting a business that made auto parts. He couldn’t hide his nervousness, constantly checking out the window.

Like Giles, their powers appeared to be powered by a mixture of chemicals, but they didn’t fling lightning like he did. Their powers appeared to be as unpredictable as any random supervillain’s.

It didn’t surprise either Giles or himself. They’d both known that Giles found the formula in an old book Giles’ family had acquired. That book had been a copy of a copy. It said so inside, claiming that it had been translated into Latin for the ease of use by new members of the Cabal.

Either the Cabal was still out there or someone else had found another copy of the formula. It was the underlying motive behind inviting all the superheroes they knew to the mansion for New Year’s.

Tomorrow they planned to organize a response.

“I wish you’d brought it up earlier,” Joe said. “We have other things going on right now. We’d have waited to bring up the potion people if we’d known about an issue that might destroy the whole human race.”

Gunther held up his hand, “Don’t worry about it. This can wait—not forever—but it can wait a year or two. I ‘lost’ it before the human race evolved into their current form. So, it’s been a few millennia. Ordinarily, I think we could wait a few more, but here’s the problem. I felt a flicker of power recently—the kind of thing I’d feel when one of us is beginning to experiment with what we can do.”

The creature let out a sigh, “You’ve got kids. Let’s put it this way—I thought I heard a toddler trying to walk and I just remembered I left a loaded gun somewhere in the room. We should find it before he does.”

“Dammit,” Joe shook his head. “If the whole human race is descended from  this friend of yours, why’d you set it so he and anyone related to him can use it?”

Gunther frowned, “I knew Nataw had come this way. I didn’t know he’d mated with anyone until after I hid the thing. It’s not as if any of you can use it. There are only a few. You’re one of them. Romy’s another, but her family has something extra.”

Thinking back, Joe couldn’t remember Gunther trying to push them together, but Gunther had mentioned knowing ancestors of his… He decided not to pursue it now.

A knock came from the hallway and Romy stepped around the corner. Between her blond hair and red dress, she could have passed for a femme fatale from a movie poster or maybe the cover of a pulp magazine.

“Romy,” he sighed, “Gunther has a new issue for the team for the new year.”

Romy shook her head, “And I thought you were sneaking away to get away from the noise. Let’s go back, drink some champagne, and deal with tomorrow’s problems tomorrow.”

Heroes’ League Headquarters, The Present Day

We sat in a room that had endured many similar meetings over the last 50+ years. We’d long ago removed the cardboard boxes full of memorabilia from the room, replaced the table with a new one, and carpeted this section of the concrete floor.

Still, air molecules might be vibrating from words spoken by any of our grandparents back in the 1950s.

Rachel and I sat next to each other at the table since we’d called the meeting. Except for having short, dark hair instead of blond, Rachel might have passed for our grandmother—Romy Vander Sloot. Unlike the rest of us, she was still in costume, wearing a simple white jumpsuit with a cartoon ghost on her chest.

She’d flown halfway across the galaxy to get here. The way she blinked her eyes made me wonder if she’d make it through the meeting without falling asleep.

Right then, she was saying, “I felt it before I touched down on Earth. There’s a low-level hum. Do any of you feel it?”

I raised my hand, saying, “For the record, I do. Anyone else?”

Further down the table, Daniel shook his head. Tall, blond, and good-looking, he was also smart, calm in a crisis, and though he wasn’t a rabbi like his grandfather, he’d probably make a decent one.

He said, “I don’t hear anything like that except secondhand through our telepathic link. I might do better once I’m less tired. I don’t know. I can tell you that the future just turned extremely volatile. Normally I can sense loosely whether what we’re doing will lead to a good or bad outcome. Right now it changes by the second. I can’t even tell whether we’ll be alive 10 minutes from now with confidence and it started maybe an hour ago—a little before Rachel reappeared.”

3 thoughts on “Before Midnight: Part 3”

  1. Just something I noticed… there is no “Next Post” link to Before Midnight part 4 on here, though the “Previous Post” is here. I went back to the main Table of Contents to get to Part 4 and continue reading.

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