“Someone’s in trouble~” Levi drawled, her voice coming out as clear as if she’d been in the room herself through the smartphone. The speaker function ensuring that her voice reached every corner of the immaculate lobby.
“It wasn’t that bad.” Shane’s protest was halfhearted at best, his words the mumble of a man being teased by a woman he fancied. “Simikiel, back me up here.”
Simikiel, not Amy, was lounging on the couch, half of her attention on the couple’s conversation and the other half on what was being displayed on the television that hung from the wall.
It had been several hours since the dock fight, it now being late in the evening. Frosty rain still lightly drizzled outside, made worse by the harsh winds. Inside the base was filled with the constant hum of heaters running and hot air being carefully circulated.
Displayed on the flat-screen in the room was the shaky news footage of some monster rampaging through a town called Brewster. It looked like a blob of flesh with cybernetic enhancements; pink, leathery skin with countless gibbering mouths and eyes, wires and sheets of metal seeming to be the only thing keeping it from falling apart at the seams. It looked like a Shifter made by Lovecraft himself had a bad run in with a Tech Super. The creature was harassing a group of police officers trying to keep their distance, shrugging off bullets and advancing with surprisingly fast flexes of its meaty form.
But just before the monster got to the first cruiser being used as impromptu cover, a man in a blue costume stepped out of an alley way and lifted a hand towards it.
A lightning bolt the size of a telephone pole leapt from the Hero’s hand and slammed into the creature, the light bright enough to temporarily white-out the entire screen. When things came back into focus the creature was writhing on the ground, half of its body charred down to a black ruin, then three long tendrils sprouted from the injured side and found purchase on the ground to fling its horrible mass at the new threat. It got all of five feet before being tackled through the air by another Hero that wore a black and red costume who wielded a gleaming bat.
This clip of the new Heroes Jack Of All and Ettin had been re-played by the news constantly, for the sheer weirdness of the creature they we’re fighting if not the raw power being put on display.
“Meh.” Simikiel replied as she watched Ettin rain blows on the monster with enough force to make the camera’s view shudder even more. “You did kind of stick your dick in a bee hive.”
“Odd phrase, but I concur.” Levi replied. “Cops already aren’t the biggest fans of Heroes, you attacking one of them is going to really sour things up.”
Shane huffed at that and crossed his arms, a little bit of petulance slipping into his voice. “Well, nothing I can do about it now.”
“Oh, don’t be overdramatic.” Levi chastised. Though she had made light of a very sensitive topic.
It wasn’t exactly a secret, but not necessarily broadcast either, that Heroes had far more privileges than your average police officer and a lot more leeway when it came to “Unofficial activity.” And if that wasn’t enough, the average ego and pride of young Heroes and young cops started somewhere in the range of planetary and often didn’t mix well.
This unfortunately led to Heroes and cops working together when they had to, but generally avoiding each other at best and coming into conflict at worst.
And Shane had just stumbled into the latter category.
“Your grandfather might have taught you Heroes, but I’m willing to bet you aren’t so familiar with the cop scene around here.” Levi said, and though she couldn’t see it, Shane nodded his agreement. “But I do. Unlike Mordent Holdings, Riptide LLC doesn’t have fancy Hero liaisons; we need to communicate with the police most of the time before we can get to a scene.”
“Are you saying you can speak on my behalf or something?” Shane asked.
“I’m saying that I’m friends with the chief and can convince her to smooth things over a bit and help with the rumor shit.” Levi amended. “Though it might be a bit hard since I’m not exactly an unbiased party anymore. It helps that you didn’t really hurt that cop though; it’s hard to get all up in arms over an incident with no injured officers.”
“Seems kind of manipulative.”
“It’s just how it works.” Amy sighed before muting the TV and shifting her position on the couch so that she was facing Shane more directly.
“What, you in with the local cops too?”
“No, but my mom was a Subtlety Hero.” Amy promptly responded. “And for better or worse they tend to interact with police the most and my mother was not shy about sharing tales of her escapades.”
“Huh. That’s almost ironic.” Levi said.
“Isn’t that textbook example of irony?” Shane questioned.
“Don’t get caught up trying to be all pretentious.” Amy said, corralling back the conversation. “My point is I’ve heard enough to know that Levi is right. Your best bet is to either talk them in person yourself, or like Levi’s offering, have someone else speak on your behalf. I would personally suggest the ‘have someone speak on your behalf option’. Sorry but you aren’t exactly a smooth talker.”
“Gee, thanks.” Shane said. “Though I doubt the chief is gonna hold a lenient view of the intern that got two people killed only few months into his internship.” The words brought up the memory of the bank incident again; his recollection almost seemed muddied now, all except for the two corpses and the sound that’d ripped its way from his throat. The memory made that familiar feeling of shame and rage bloom in his chest again, but he pushed it down. Why had he even mentioned it anyway?
Before Shane could think about it any further, he was surprised by the sound of Levi blowing a raspberry in response. “Don’t be such a chode. Do you know many people I’ve failed to save? Over thirty people, fucking thirty, and the chief still talks to me almost daily.”
“And on top of that.” Shane nearly jumped as he heard Amy suddenly behind him. Either she was a lot sneaker than he thought, or she’d quickly shifted and used her speed, and based on how crossed Amy sounded, he wouldn’t put it past her. “That was team effort Shane, you don’t get to, and shouldn’t, shoulder all of that by yourself.”
The young Hero floundered for a moment, even as the negative feelings still seemed to twist and swell in his chest, opening and closing his mouth for a bit before nodding his head demurely and mumbling a, “Uh, yeah, you’re right.”
“Good.” Levi said, voice suddenly cherry now. “Alright, I’ve gotta get going now. And remember; we definitely need to have another date this weekend, and this time you better give me a goodnight kiss. Love you lots!” Then there was the familiar beep of the call being needed.
Amy raised one well-trimmed, black eyebrow as Shane looked away. “You haven’t kissed her yet?”
“I’m just shy.”
“Suurre you are, buddy.” Amy drawled before checking the watch on her wrist, an odd accessory considering her phone could tell time just as well. “Now, come on, it’s time for training. If you’re really committed to not having a repeat of the bank incident then I’ll help you double down on your reaction time and precision.”
Shane cracked a smile at that as he stood up to follow her. “Really? I don’t think I can handle double of our usual.”
“Aww, don’t be such a baby. You can counter me with your shadows while I’m going only a couple hundred miles an hour; let’s bump it up to five hundred and see how things work out from there.”