The six rode back to Jon and Flora’s neighborhood
in what seemed to be the most uncomfortably silent ride home. Several
times, Sara had tried to attack Xandria, and it finally took Flora’s
stone cage to keep the redhead from slicing the blonde to ribbons
with her claws. JD tried to keep the mood light, but no one seemed
interested in talking.
Jon decided it would be best if they ditched
the van, so they left it running near Kings Row. As soon as they had
gotten out, NAGA, the android that JD had found in Crey Industries
lab, said she had to leave. She could not explain why, but, she said
she felt too powerful of a calling. They watched her run in the direction
of Galaxy City. JD seemed sorry to see her go.
“C’mon. Our place isn’t
far from here. We need to get this sorted out.” Jon said.
made an imposing sight; Jon wearing flowing black robes with a hood
that covered his face. Flora walked beside him, her green skin and
dreadlocks making her look like the Gorgon she named herself after.
JD and Sara walked behind, each in outfits of black leather. Finally,
Xandria seemed almost out of place, still dressed in her white leather
bustier and miniskirt. Any villains who saw them ceased in their activity,
lest the group spot them. They all seemed to walk with determination,
with an air of power that they were skilled in using.
Jon looked over
his shoulder, and gave a chuckle. Everyone else turned around to see
what he found so amusing. Someone was already casing the van; within
seconds, the person had hopped into the driver’s seat and drove off
“You can see why Paragon City needs help.” he commented as
the van whizzed by them.
“You left it running, Jon. Isn’t that entrapment
or something?” Sara asked.
“Well, I suppose technically, it is. But
it proves my point.” he said.
A helicopter came out of nowhere, flying
very fast and very low. The van was about to turn the corner when
the chopper’s pilot fired a rocket at it. The van exploded, killing
“Wow. Looks like the Fourth of July.” JD quipped. “Good
thing that wasn’t us.”
“Crey must put tracking devices in their vehicles.
Actually, they put tracking devices on a lot of their things.” Jon
looked back at Sara and Xandria.
The two models were not exactly on
speaking terms. Sara steadfastly refused to believe that Xandria’s
actions weren’t done of her own free will, despite the latter’s repeated
efforts to explain herself. Both had been injected with a substance
produced by Crey Industries, and would probably always have to be
looking over their shoulders for Crey’s minions.
Back in the apartment,
instead of an explosive outburst, Sara grabbed her things and left.
Unable to stop her, everyone just watched her leave.
No one talked
about it. The night had been a long one, and everyone was exhausted.
JD and Xandria passed out on the living room furniture. Jon and Flora
went to bed as well.
Sara made her way back to Founder’s Falls in
a sullen mood. She was nowhere closer to finding her brother than
when it had all began, and Jon seemed to accept Xandria into the group.
On the monorail, there were few passengers, but all were heroes. Some
were dressed in flashy, eye-catching costumes. Some wore what looked
like street clothes. Her outfit was more about comfort, and to a certain
extent, fashion. One of the heroes sitting across from her gave her
“Long night?” he asked.
“Just busted out of Crey Labs.” she
said, slumping back in her seat.
“Alone?” he asked, seemingly stunned
by the statement.
“No. Someone actually came to rescue me. Imagine
that. The hero needing a hero.” she chuckled at the irony.
you have friends to help. A good team can be a powerful force in this
She looked him over; he had coal-black skin, bright blue pants
and boots. His hair and eyes were the exact same shade of pale blue.
Emblazoned on his bare chest was a fireball symbol, also in blue.
“We’re not exactly a team. Just a bunch of people thrown together
“In my opinion, there is no such thing as chance.
Very likely, something brought you all together for some greater purpose.”
he smiled. “But, that is just my opinion.”
“I didn’t want to be a
“How many of us in this city did? Most of us are here because
of some accident or other twist of fate. When I was little, I had
a favorite place to go swimming. What I didn’t know was that was where
someone decided to dump their chemical wastes.” he held out his arms.
“This happened when I was about sixteen.”
“What did you do?”
“I just accepted it. I found out not only did I look different, I
had power as well. So, I came here, hoping to make a difference.”
“You sound like an idealist.”
“Perhaps I am. But sitting around sulking
about what has happened to me still does not change the fact that
it did happen. So, why not use my powers to help humanity?”
want to find my brother.” she said quietly.
“Maybe someday you will.
Until then, you must keep fighting the good fight.”
“Sounds like you’ve
been to the Statesman’s empowerment seminars.”
He chuckled. “I’ve
just read the book. I’ve only been in town a week.” he extended his
hand. “Call me Bluedragon.”
She shook his hand. “Solanum.”
She unsheathed her claws.
“Wow. Those look sharp. Ever break
“No. And hopefully, that won’t happen.” she retracted them.
“Here’s my stop.” she stood up and went to the sliding doors. The
train began to slow as it pulled into the station.
“On to an assignment?”
“No. I’m going to bed. Have a good night. I’ll see you around the
city, Bluedragon.” she added as she stepped out the doors.
he cheerfully waved. His eyes seemed brimming with excitement as the
doors closed and he looked out the window to his destination.
walked down the street toward her apartment building, a man rushed
past her, bumping into her.
“Hey! Watch where you’re go-“ she started,
when two other men ran past her in hot pursuit of the first. In the
bright streetlights of Founder’s Falls, she could see the black vests
with red embroidery on them. Hellions, she realized. Probably out
to try and expand their territory in this neighborhood.
The man was
herded into an alley, and Sara could hear him beginning to scream
From what she had heard about the Hellions, it was unlikely
that they would grant him any. She unsheathed her claws and summoned
her dark energy cloud. As it radiated out of her, she ran to the alley
that the man had been chased into. The Hellions never showed a victim
mercy, and she was not inclined to show them any either.
JD said, leaning on the counter at the Registrar’s office.
sir, but the moniker, ‘Live Wire’ has been taken for some two months
now.” the clerk, a little, bookish man looked at the youth with a
certain veiled annoyance. “You can’t use it.”
“I’ve been ‘Live Wire’
for over a year now back home, and you’re tellin’ me I can’t use my
own name?” the more upset he became, the thicker his accent grew.
“I’m sorry, sir. But that is department policy. Perhaps if you were
registered in your home town, then maybe you could make your case
before a committee.” the clerk offered.
“Perhaps you could kiss my
–“ JD started to retort, but a stern look from Jon stopped him.
there any alternate spellings for that name available?” Jon asked.
The clerk tapped quickly on his computer’s keyboard. “Look’s like
there is one.”
JD sighed heavily. This certainly wasn’t what he wanted.
“Alright. How’s it spelled?”
He received his ID badge and medical
teleporter. He hoped he would never have to use it, but it was always
good to have it on. He looked at his badge and grimaced.
He spelled out. “How stupid is that?”
“Don’t worry, about that, JD.
You’ll always be spelled correctly in my book.” Jon patted him on
the back as they went to their seats. Xandria had been sitting there
the whole time, filing her nails, seemingly indifferent to what was
“Next.” the clerk droned. Xandria stood up. She opted to
wear something even racier-looking today. It was another white leather
top, but very low cut, along with a miniskirt, fishnet stockings and
high boots. JD had said she looked completely hot; Jon and Flora thought
she looked like a hooker. The clerk looked like his head was about
to explode. Xandria came up to the counter with a very seductive walk.
“Real, ahem, name?” he stammered, almost afraid to make eye contact
“Alexandria Dauphine. Or,” she leaned forward, guaranteeing
the clerk a view of her ample cleavage, “you could just call me Xandria.”
she reached out and twirled the clerk’s front lock of hair. “ Are
you sure you can’t do something about my friend’s name registration
The clerk gulped loudly. Jon rolled his eyes. These two
didn’t need a mentor; they needed a babysitter.
Jon left the registrar’s
office with LiveWire and WhiteDiamond. Xandria had never given any
thought to actually becoming a crime fighter, so she had been hard-pressed
for names. JD had suggested it, being grateful for her assistance
in getting his name back. However, Xandria was perplexed when she
saw her license had a restrictions notice on it.
“Why do I have to
have so many restrictions, Jon? Is it because I’m a woman?” Xandria
“No, it’s because you have a small criminal record. A
lot of department stores have you on tape obtaining high-priced items
without paying for them.”
“I’m being penalized for shoplifting?”
the stuff you took would cost in the hundreds, sometimes thousands
of dollars. At that point, it’s theft.”
“Oh.” she nodded. “I wish
I could remember what I got.”
Jon handed her a list. “Freedom Corps
has Flora and I as your sponsors. You’re basically under our tutelage
until they feel you have ‘reformed.’ This is a list of things you
misappropriated while drugged.”
Xandria looked over the list, a scowl
crossing her face. “Gaultier? I took Gaultier? I must have been on
drugs.” she said in disgust. “Can’t I just pay them back?”
want, but the restrictions are still going to be there.”
won’t pay them back then. But I’m ditching the Gaultier as soon as
I can. I hate his stuff.” she said in a bratty tone.
Jon sighed, and
again hoped Sara was alright.
Thomas and Spyke returned back to Thomas’
apartment that afternoon, only to find several vans marked “Crey Industries”
on the sides. He found this to be an amusing development, and at the
same time, he wondered what they could possibly want with him.
he entered his apartment, he found his friend, James, waiting for
him. Hiding his fury at this intrusion and invasion of his home, Thomas
merely smiled politely.
“This is unexpected. You should have called.
I might have been able to rearrange my schedule.”
“Save it, Tom. The
girls are gone. I’m taking your bodyguard back.”
Thomas’ smiled faded
to a more neutral expression. He wasn’t sure which bothered him more;
the two models escaping from Crey’s fortress of a laboratory, or his
bodyguard being taken from him. It was his one leverage against Sara,
whom he felt would not give up until she had her brother back.
I offer you a drink, Jimmy?” he said graciously. Playing host would
give him time to figure out what to do. “I’m sure we can come to some
sort of amicable arrangement.” He went to his bar and took out some
glasses. Opening the freezer, he put ice in them and poured in some
scotch and soda water. He handed his college buddy the drink.
took a sip of the beverage. “Quite good.”
“I only purchase the best.”
“Seriously, Tom. The Countess is furious. She wants the people who
broke into the lab ‘dealt with.’” he held up his fingers in quotes
to emphasize the euphemism. “She almost fired the entire security
team, at least, those left alive.”
“What happened?” he was intrigued.
“Some kid managed to sneak into the lab and activate a prototype android.
He also managed to find the two girls and get them out of their stasis
chambers before we could process them. And then, before anyone knew
what was going on, two other heroes helped them get out before reinforcements
could arrive. They stole a van, which was destroyed, but there was
no evidence the six of them were in it at the time.” James sighed.
“So how is this my fault exactly?” Thomas asked indifferently. He
made a motion to Spyke to leave the room. The kid did so.
The Countess can be highly irrational at times. But suffice to say,
she wants Evan returned, and unless the two models are back in Crey
custody, you’re not getting him back. Her orders.”
So, the Countess
was angry with him. Add another on to his enemy list, even if her
entry might be a bit premature. No matter. The threat she posed to
him, like the Skulls and Trolls, was inconsequential.
“I really don’t
think I can do that, Jimmy.” he said in a calm, lethal voice.
you might say that.” James pulled out a gun and fired it at Thomas.
The dart hung limply in his left shoulder. His friend looked at him
“That should’ve..How did you…What the…?” he stammered
Spyke reentered the room with a glowing vial. James tried to
run for the door, but Thomas paralyzed him with a wave of his hand.
“Let’s just say, I’ve had a spiritual awakening of sorts.” Thomas
took the vial from Spyke, and pulled a syringe from one of the drawers
behind the bar. He filled the needle completely with the green fluid.
“This won’t be on the same level for you, Jimmy, but I guarantee,
you’re going to like the results.”
He jammed the needle into his friend’s
arm. James could do nothing but howl in pain as The Serum activated
his latent mutant genes.
The guards and techs in the waiting vans
heard the screams, but never had time to get into the townhouse. Waves
of darkness surrounded the vehicles, and when the black fog had lifted,
the vans were empty, as if no one had been in them at all.
smiled in delight. He turned back to his friend, who, thanks to another
injection, was now his minion.
“I told you we could come to a settlement
we could both be happy with.” he told the lumbering hulk that had
been his friend.