I couldn’t have explained it in so many words then, but saving Sean wouldn’t be simple.
I had a little bit of a head start because I was below him, and most of his metal defenses had been facing Dixie Supergirl. So I wouldn’t have to avoid much if I kept on flying upward, and a little to the left—where his back had been.
The big problem would come when I caught him.
The second he stopped falling, he’d get hit in the head by a chunk of steel reinforced concrete, or a ten foot section of railing.
Again, not that I thought about it that clearly in the moment.
In that moment, the readout showed the words, “collision alert,” and I knocked a chunk of concrete and steel away from my head, and then a railing, and then I was next to Sean.
I reached out to grab him, and realized that the second he started going up, he’d be battered by a piece of concrete and steel larger than both of us combined. Changing direction to go sideways would only lead us into more debris. Sure, I could slam it out of the way, but I could only guess which direction it would go. No reason that it couldn’t bounce into my legs—or Sean—if I happened to be carrying him.
I didn’t grab him. I knocked the big chunk above us out of the way, and flipped over, intending to clear a path and grab him on the way down.
I never got the chance.
In blur of red and blue, Dixie Supergirl crossed the distance, grabbing him, and flying across the distance to land and carefully lay him on the walkway. Below us, metal hit the floor, and concrete shattered.
“He’s alive,” she said, “but I’d call an ambulance.”
“X-ray vision?” I asked, knowing better. Dixie Superman had used sonar, something my grandfather exploited more than once.
“Something like that.”
I’d flipped back to hover, upright, about twenty feet from the fifth floor walkway’s ledge. Sean had ripped off all the railings during their fight, short as it was.
Still recovering from two quick flips in the air, battering chunks of building, and nearly exploding, I battled my adrenaline rush, and tried to think.
We were talking.
I had a chance, some kind of chance, to turn this from a fight into… Well, I wasn’t sure what it could turn into, but hopefully something that wasn’t a fight.
I took a moment to look at her for the first time. I’d seen her on the television, and briefly at the beach before she’d punched me.
Unlike Dixie Superman, she wasn’t red haired. She had long, straight, dark hair, and darker skin than his. Not much darker. She might just have a tan, but I doubted it. The possibilities it opened were mindblowing. I’d read the reports. I knew where Dixie Superman came from. He’d come from an alternate reality, one where Reconstruction went horribly wrong after the Civil War, and where even in the twentieth century, the South bore a striking resemblance to Northern Ireland in the 1970’s—full of bombs and terrorist cells.
My grandfather visited the universe once. He’d described it as a hellhole.
Dixie Superman appeared in the 1950’s, and had actually been a hero until the Civil Rights movement. During the Civil Rights movement, he became so extreme that even people who were against the Civil Rights movement themselves thought he went too far.
I’d noticed one other interesting thing when she talked—she had no southern accent. It didn’t mean she wasn’t from the South, but it opened up a lot of questions.
My head whirled with them. I settled on one.
“So… Are you related to Dixie Superman, or did you just like the name?”
“Like the name?” The tone of her voice probably would have been the same if she’d said, “Are you insane?”
“It’s a reasonable question,” I said. “Your names are practically the same, and calls to mind… um… a lot of the same things.”
Her jaw dropped a little, and she blinked. Then she said, “I’m nothing like him. I’m only using this name once—against you.”
From the anger in her voice, I thought for a moment that she was about to attack, but she didn’t. The moment of hesitation before she spoke, however, made me think that it couldn’t be all her. In fact, it might not be her at all.
She definitely wasn’t over thirty. To guess from what I could see of her face, I’d have been surprised if she were over twenty.
I decided to take a shot at getting her to recognize Evil Beatnik’s influence.
“I’m sure you’re not like him. In fact, I’d bet you’re not even sure you know why you’re doing this. You’re trying to free prisoners, but you don’t even know these people. You don’t know us either. I know Dixie Superman fought the original League, but we’ve barely met, right?”
She didn’t say anything. I took it as a cue to keep on going.
“It’s not you. Someone’s making you do this. It’s—”
A silvery blur appeared out of the stairwell, and ran around the walkway too quickly for me to follow until the blur hit Dixie Supergirl, knocking her backwards.
She didn’t fall, flying into an upright position after a few feet. By then, however, the silvery blur and Sean had both disappeared.
If I’d been keeping track of reasons to dislike Jody, I had one more to add to the list.