Senator Laurel Decker lounged in the comfortable arm chair situated in the middle of her hotel room as she rechecked her schedule. She brushed her brown hair out of her eyes with one hand, she’d have to get it cut soon, and finished up the last changes to her schedule, the vibrant green styling of the programs layout the same color as her eyes.
After having to waste a week with getting a prison warden, that she’d finally caught openly neglecting sexual assault in his facility, fired and replaced with one she’d personally vetted. That little jaunt had messed her schedule a bit but she was too experienced now to let little, unexpected detours rattle her. Besides, unexpected as it might have been, it offered her an opportunity take down an annoyance and get some good publicity, something that she had never failed to capitalize on. Some might look down on the second advantage, but Laurel knew how far good publicity and proper PR management could take someone.
“Your meal, Miss Decker.” Came a gentle voice from her side before a woman with long red hair and freckles leaned down, pushed the little hinged table that held up the black and gold laptop aside, and placed a warm plate of pancakes, bacon, and eggs onto her lap. A second later a medium glass of water was placed on the small table beside the chair.
“Thank you, Carol.” Laurel said. She was quite fond of Carol, not in the romantic sense, that throne was already taken, even if she couldn’t deny that the young lady was very pretty. But more in the way someone might like a very attentive and prompt employee. She’d been with her for a little over five years now and had proven herself to be one of her most loyal and valuable bodyguards. Even if the runny texture of the maroon field of energy she projected over the room was rather garish.
‘Oh well, at least it blocks teleportation and telepathy.’ Laurel thought with a mental shrug, there was no need to be especially picky when you got your hands on an exceptional Super. And Powereds might be on the table soon as well…
Laurel dismissed those idle thoughts of the future and went back to her late breakfast. As she began to dig in while Carol stepped back, she began to reflect on what she’d had to initiate a few months ago. The average, ignorant individual simply could not understand what had needed to be done to properly secure their way of life. The DVA and Heroes could understand part of it at least, their entire response system was geared towards saving as many people possible. But even they had been incredibly resistant when she had even floated the idea of holding back on the less physically essential parts of the HCP at Vista University.
And now the DVA was riding her ass hard for pulling more than a few strings to get to publicly announce the existence of the facility first; it hadn’t been illegal per-say but she could bet it put more than a few people on edge. If they were so resistant to such mild suggestions and actions then she was absolutely right to not trust them with had needed to be set up next; an international coalition of Heroes wouldn’t trigger by itself after all.
And she would do anything to help her perfect Robert achieve his dream.
After finishing her meal, and wiping her mouth with a napkin, she handed the plate back to Carol and resumed looking over her schedule one last time. Eventually though Laurel’s mind wandered and she decided to surf the local news.
Laurel felt a little thrill of satisfaction and vindication as she saw how the news sites were talking about the recent attacks. There was alarm and concern at the sudden spikes of violent and powerful Super criminal fights but, thanks to the Heroes, it hadn’t blossomed into full blown panic. And not for the first time she noted that the Pristine Strikers were mostly at the center of it, having weathered most of the attacks themselves. Which was to be expected; they were the strongest team in town, which made them both a target for criminals and Heroes that wanted to take their mantle. The sidekicks, interns really, made a little knot of worry briefly form in her stomach; despite being the main individual helping to push the DVA to build a new HCP even she didn’t have the clout to get any information on who the potential graduates would be. Laurel hadn’t expected them to be so strong or that, if her observations about Styx were right, the Pristine Strikers would take on a relative of Captain Starlight himself. Sure, it could just be someone who had an extremely similar shadow ability to the legendary Hero, but she found that unlikely.
Laurel’s musings were interrupted by a notification popping up in the corner of her laptop’s screen; it was the Super-Destruct app. It was a popular little thing that had popped up a few years ago that almost immediately alerted users to exceptionally destructive Super activity that occurred in their area by constantly scouring local news. There were rumors that the app had, at least, been tweaked by tech-genius Super but nothing official or concrete. The alert she had just received was about a city block scarred by a bunch of super-tech weaponry.
‘Speak of the devil.’ Laurel thought as she opened the article and saw that a live stream from a news station showed that Styx was on the scene. The perspective was from back and above, Styx was standing beside Defensive Dugout, one of her more translucent shields in front of them as they looked at the building surrounded by high-tech turrets and blasters. Laurel’s expression turned from curious to cold as soon as she saw the precise location of the incident and recognized some of the weaponry she saw there, apparently, they’d made some changes since she last visited.
“Carol, tell the driver to have my car ready.” She ordered the young assistant as she stood up, closing the laptop and gathered her things just as the sound of Styx shredding all of that machinery came through the speakers, and walked out of the hotel room. And after holding a hand to her right and talking in hushed tones, Carol followed close behind her.
This was bad but she had safeguards in place just in case things didn’t go perfectly, you had to when dealing with Heroes. All wasn’t lost so long as those foreign idiots weren’t stupider than she thought and actually followed her instructions; she needed them to last much longer.