Haley came over on Saturday afternoon. We hadn’t planned on doing anything, but after what had happened the night before, she thought it might be nice to get together without the threat of imminent fighting.
We ended up sitting together on the bed in my room, and it had been a nice afternoon. We hadn’t done anything special, just gone for a walk and talked.
She told me about going out for coffee with her friends, Kay and Ashley after school earlier in the week.
“I’m surprised you had time. I feel like I spent the entire week either fixing or wearing powered armor.”
“It was on Tuesday before everything got crazy.” Then she stopped, probably thinking about last week’s prom, and said, “Well, more crazy.”
“That was when I took the Ball out, and got the new mess started. It feels like last year. Um… That reminds me. What happened with Justice Fiend?”
“After the fight, Daniel picked up the silver ring, and let him out. Oh… and he told us we’d done a good job, but he wished we’d let him out earlier. Like we had a chance to. She was fast.”
I looked at Haley’s face. She had a two inch long cut on her cheek from the fight.
“How is the cut? We could take the jet, and I bet Alex or his dad could take care of it. It’d only take twenty minutes to get there.”
“I’ll be fine. I heal quickly. Not like Cassie, but faster than normal people. It went all the way through my cheek, but after I shifted my fangs and claws away, it was just a cut — kind of like it works with Marcus.”
“I didn’t know it went all the way through. Wow.”
She shrugged. “I should be able to cover it with makeup by Monday. Nick, there’s something else I should tell you…” She stopped, and didn’t say anything for a second.
Then… “Travis and Marcus think we should all go after that gang. We’ve beaten them twice this week, and Travis says that if we don’t take them out, they’ll come after us.”
“I heard a little bit about that while you were in the shower. I’m not sure how they’d manage it. Even we don’t know when we’ll appear in costume next. I doubt they’d be able to post a lookout everywhere in the city.”
“I don’t know. I’m telling you what I heard. Travis thinks that we’ve got to act together this time. With the Mayor, we all just waited on you, and Daniel to discover what was going on, but if everybody had been working together from the beginning, we might have stopped him before he called in the National Guard.”
“I can see that. It did get way out of control.”
“I hope you don’t feel like he’s picking on you. You and Daniel didn’t do anything wrong.”
“I didn’t. It’s better if everyone’s involved.”
“Good.” She smiled, and somehow looked a little less worried. “Travis comes up with plans, but I don’t think he always thinks about how other people might take them.”
“I didn’t know this was at the ‘plan’ stage. I thought he was just talking.”
“I don’t know where he is with it, but from what he said on the way home, it sounded like he’d been thinking about it a lot.”
Her phone beeped. She pulled it out of her purse, looked at the screen, and said, “I’ve got to go. I work in half an hour.”
She kissed me, and I walked her out of the house.
* * *
After supper, I went into HQ. I spent the first hour fixing the Rocket suit. It wasn’t unsafe, but Jack had put some serious strain on the upper torso. I checked out the suit’s electronic components just in case exposure to Sean’s magnetic field had damaged anything.
I found myself almost disappointed that it hadn’t. If he could control magnetism, Sean theoretically ought to be able to produce electricity, light, and chemical changes. Of course he might lack the fine control necessary, or maybe the knowledge. Personally, the first thing I would have done with his powers would have been to learn how to create a controlled electromagnetic pulse.
Just one of those would take out most electronics — Jack Maniac’s armor would have been useless.
I decided to stop meditating on Sean’s cluelessness, and got back to working on the suit.
I’d sent the cable TV signal to the computer screen in the lab, and paid attention to it occasionally.
With the ongoing national “people with power juice running wild” story, Jack and Christine Maniac’s capture got almost no press at all. What little press it got showed me fighting Jack above the city, Chris blasting him, and the rest of the League dismantling Christine — and that was on SuperTV. SuperTV was for the superhero obsessed.
I wondered if Sean felt overlooked, but then decided not to care.
Once I finished working on the Rocket suit, I sat down at the main table, and logged into a computer.
I’d been meaning to look up the original Power after I’d heard Sean claim the name. I knew of the man, but hadn’t realized he was dead, or more accurately, that he’d died recently enough for the name to still be available.
By the time I finished reading Double V’s database entry on him, I knew a lot more. The Power first appeared in the 1950’s, putting him in the same era as the original Heroes League. He’d been involved in founding the Southern California Defenders, and had actually recruited Preserver, Alex’s dad, the current team leader. He’d had the ability to manipulate molecules, a hugely versatile power. Retiring in the 1970’s when his powers began to fade, he lived quietly in Washington state until just last year.
Double V didn’t say how he died. They just stated the date of death. Checking the name registration list, I noticed that the Power’s name had only become available a couple weeks ago.
I went to the FBI’s records.
They had a little more. He’d apparently been a good friend of Helios, Solar Flare’s grandfather, and a grandfather figure for Solar Flare after Helios died. He’d visited the San Francisco Compound where Solar Flare grew up regularly.
An unknown person had shot him in the afternoon of December 25 last year. He’d been reading in his living room. I remembered the day. That was the day we’d caught Ray, (and his team) in the woods a few miles from Haley’s family’s cottage.
I felt cold just remembering it.
Reading a little further, I noted that his death was still under investigation.