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by: Rebecca McQuarrie
“What are we doing here Storm,” asked Stormborn’s twin sister Thunder Shower as they stealthy entered a rundown warehouse.
“We’re looking for information. I’m trying to confirm a theory,” he answered.
Shaking her head, Thunder replied, “If this is about our mother…look, Storm, I wish she was still alive too, but she’s not. You have to let this go. You have to let her go.”
“I can’t. Especially not now. I’ve come across some new information Thunder. The hospital where we were born, where Mom died, was closed down shortly afterwards.”
“I know that. You know that. We’ve been through that place with a fine toothed comb. I know you have a ‘gut feeling’ that she’s still alive. So did I for most of my life, then I got some counseling. So should you, instead of dragging me off to random places chasing dead ends. I wish she was here too, I really do, but after twenty-five years you have to admit that it’s not possible,” she softly chastised.
“Would you let me finish,” he growled, his patience with her oft heard speech growing thin. “I started looking into who owned the property. That was something we never checked out. It was, well it still is, owned by CvD Development.” He then paused, waiting for the information to sink in. He watched his sister puzzle out what he had just told her, and watched with satisfaction as the realization dawned on her face.
“CvD. Clarissa van Dorn. Crey Industries.” Shaking her head in amazement, she continued, “I know they own a lot of property, but the hospital? I guess it makes sense. They’re a biotech company. But what does that have to do with our mother?”
“Do you remember all of the accusations right after the Rikti invasion? All of the missing hero corpses? And even though the Countess denied the claims that they were heroes, they did find two bodies in stasis chambers. It’s not a huge leap to the possibility that Crey was doing this long before the Rikti came. The Rikti just gave them ample opportunity to gather more subjects to experiment on.”
“So you think that, as owners of the hospital, Crey had access to our mother,” interrupted Thunder. “Even if they did, she would still be dead.”
“No. Not necessarily. If Crey owned the hospital, they owned the doctors. There wasn’t anyone but staff present when she died. Maybe she didn’t. She was in a coma. Maybe they saw an opportunity and took it. Took her.”
“Ok,” she sighed, “let’s just say I believe that it could be a very slight possibility. That doesn’t explain what we’re doing in this warehouse.”
“Warehouses are used to store stuff. This one is owned by Crey. I assume Crey is storing stuff here,” he explained.
“But assuming our mother is here? That’s adding two plus two and getting forty-seven. First of all, if, and that’s a big if, Crey has our mother, and if she’s still alive, why would she be in this warehouse?”
“Because,” he said, bracing himself for the blow he knew was coming, “I’ve looked in every other warehouse in the city that is owned by Crey or one of its subsidiaries. This is the last one. That’s why I brought you with me. She’s here. I know she is. She has to be.”
“What in the hell is wrong with your head,” Thunder hissed as she took a swing at her sibling. “You could have been killed, or worse. And don’t ask me what’s worse, because you know what’s out there.”
“Could have, would have, should have, never did anybody a bit of good. I’m fine and we’re here. You can maim me later. For now, let’s go find Mom.” With that, he set off down the hall.
Having limited other choices, Thunder followed her brother with a scowl on her face.
After searching various rooms and halls, and not coming across a single soul, they came across a locked door. Storm thought for a moment then headed back they way they came. He stepped into a side office and began searching the desk.
“Ah ha,” he exclaimed, as he withdrew a hand holding a key.
The twins returned to the locked door and braced themselves. Things were locked up for a reason. Usually because they were dangerous. Thunder inserted the key and with satisfaction, heard the lock release. Hidden behind the door was a poorly lit stairway that appeared to head down to a basement. Standing at the top of the stairwell, the two heroes could hear the soft whir of machinery interspersed with an occasional electronic beep.
Thunder looked at her brother with an expression of shock mixed with fear. With their hearts racing in a synchronized rhythm, they started their descent. At the bottom of the stairs, Thunder placed her hand on Storm’s arm stopping him. Whispering she said “Should be call for backup? If Crey’s men are down here…”
“We’ll be fine. If Mom is down here, how many men do you think they have watching her after this long,” he asked.
“I’m still not sure,” she answered. “I’d feel more comfortable even if we put the base on stand-by. Give me a sec and then we’ll go.”
Knowing it was no use arguing, Storm waited patiently while his sister called into S.P.E.L.L. Keeping the call short and with minimal detail, Thunder soon hung up. Turning their attention back to the matter at hand, they rounded the corner expecting the worst. Storm barely held back a laugh as he focused on the only moving targets in the room.
“See, what did I tell you,” whispered Storm, “Three patrol guards. That’s it. One for you, one for me, and we can split the third.” He then drew his bow and knocked an arrow as Thunder gathered an electrical charge of lightning between her hands. In a fluid motion, almost as if they were one, the two strode into the room firing off their respective weapons. It was short work and they soon had three bodies on the floor. Looking through the large observation window they saw a hibernation tank. Trying to contain their excitement, they hurried through the doorway into the machine filled room. Looking through the glass panel, they recognized the woman they had only seen in pictures. They had found their mother. As Storm reached out to open the containment unit, Thunder stopped him.
“As soon as we open this, we’re going to be swamped with Crey’s lackeys.”
“I doubt it,” Storm scoffed. “They had minimal security. I can’t believe a system this old would be hooked up to any kind of security. Trust me. I’ve been right so far haven’t I?”
He then proceeded to open the tube containing Storm’s Grace. There was a hiss of air as the seal was broken. Grace lay before them in a perpetual sleep. Not knowing which button to push, and being frustrated at her brother, Thunder shot the equipment with bolt of lightning, hoping to short circuit whichever system was keeping her mother in stasis. She was also hoping to fry any security systems that her brother was in denial about.
The two waited with baited breath for their mother to stir.
“She was in a coma wasn’t she,” asked Thunder. “Maybe she still is. Maybe she’ll never wake up…”
Just as she was finishing her sentence, they heard a raspy indrawn breath. They looked down to see Grace opening her eyes. As she focused them, she grew confused. “Who…” she managed before going into a fit of coughing.
Knowing what Storm was going to say, Thunder hurriedly interrupted “We’re from S.P.E.L.L. They sent us to find you.”
Storm shot a glare at her before returning his attention to his mother. “We’re going to get you out of here. Let’s see if you can walk.” They managed to get Grace out of the tank and hold her up between them. They had barely made it out of the room before they heard running footsteps and shouting. Setting their mother on a chair, they prepared themselves for battle.
“At least we can bottleneck them on the stairs” said Thunder, as an Eliminator lumbered down towards them.
Grace could only look on with horrified pride at the fighting before her. She had no idea how long she had been captive, but she knew these two heroes had not been members of her supergroup when she was taken. They fought well together, like a well-oiled machine. She couldn’t help but feel a sense of familiarity with these two, almost as if she had trained them. She watched helpless as the heroes were swamped; the minions had pushed them back far enough to unplug the stairway. She sent up a fervent prayer for her newfound companions, and as if the gods had a special interest in this grouping, the Crey underlings began to turn around and fight behind them.
After the chaos ended, a face appeared around the bottom of the stairwell. With a gasp of joy, Grace jumped up and shouted “Celia!” As the confused hero got closer she said, “No. I’m Zoe. Celia was my mother.” Then with a look of concern, she turned to Thunder and Storm. “Are you all ok?”
“Yes,” said Storm, “but what are you doing here?”
“Apparently saving your butts,” said Caderly, as he came into the room. “When Thunder called in and told us where you were, and that you were leading this little endeavor, we figured you might need help.”
Looking over Caderly’s shoulder and seeing half of the supergroup standing there, the twins could only laugh and offer their thanks.
“Excuse me,” said Grace, interrupting the good-natured banter, “Zoe, was it? I’m a little confused. Celia doesn’t have any children.”
Zoe, almost as confused as Grace, responded, “She has…had two daughters. Myself and my sister. They both disappeared shortly after you did. Grace…it’s been twenty-five years since you disappeared. Actually, the hospital told everyone that you had died. It was Thunder Shower and Stormborn who refused to believe them. They’ve spent the last decade trying to find you.”
As Grace sank into silence, Thunder spoke up. “Actually, it was all Storm. He’s the one who wouldn’t give up, no matter how many times I tried convincing him to. I’m so sorry that I didn’t believe him. We could have found you sooner.” On the verge of tears, Thunder turned in the comforting arms of her teammates.
“I don’t understand,” said Grace. “Twenty-five years is a long time. Why would they keep me that long? Why did they want me at all? But more importantly, why do you? Why did you keep looking for me?”
“That’s the easiest question to answer Mom,” replied Storm.
“Mom? Oh my god,” Grace gasped. “I was pregnant! Mom? You’re my son?”
“And daughter,” said Storm, drawing Thunder close.
“Twins,” she asked, now in tears. “I had twins?”
“Yes,” answered Thunder. “And from the stories I hear, I take after you more than some people would like.” At the weak attempt at a joke, Grace’s lips turned up in a small smile. The smile turned into a grin, and the grin turned into laughter.
“My babies,” she cried with delight as she hugged Thunder and Storm close.
Zoe cleared her throat and said, “I hate to interrupt such a beautiful moment, but I don’t think this is the best place for a reunion. We should head back to the base before anyone else discovers we’re here. You’ll have plenty of time to catch up there.”
On their way out the door, Grace asked, “If you take after me Thunder, does that mean Storm takes after his father?”
Glancing at each other, the twins were unsure of what to say. Finally Storm said, “I really don’t know Mom. We don’t know who he is. We’ve never met him.”
“Never met him? But, that would mean…”
Storm caught his mother as she fainted. “You know that other gut feeling Thunder,” he asked.
“This time,” Thunder responded, “I’ll believe you.”