Halfway through the relief effort Mordent Holding’s resident PEERs team arrived to help out, Hero Liaison in tow.
While the leader of the other PEERs team, Clamp, talked to Levi’s team leader, Light-Bright, Styx tried to identify the new Hero.
She looked exceptionally well built, even by Hero standards, as if the muscles under her skin were literally made of tightly corded steel cables. Which were only visible because of her near indecently skin-tight red costume with silver highlights that reminded Styx of shifter material. And only the exposed jaw from her cowl mask revealed the slightly tanned pigment of her skin.
‘I’m guessing Asian ancestry, or something close.’ Styx thought as her eyes quickly scanned the entire disaster area.
Though what was most striking about the woman was the near perpetual scowl on her face, which contrasted heavily with how easily she talked with both the rival teams before eventually moving towards the other Heroes present, starting with Styx.
“Heya, rookie.” The woman said, eyes level with where Styx were behind his mask and with lines on her face that made her look ten years past middle aged.
‘At least she didn’t call me a kid.’ Styx thought as he smoothly extended his hand forward and got a firm hand shake. “Nice to meet a fellow Hero; never heard of you before though.”
Before Styx had time to realize that might not have been the best conversation opener, the older Heroine let out a small, belly laugh. Deeper than he’d expect from a woman, but still obviously feminine.
“True, true enough. I’m not a subtlety Hero, but I don’t exactly go out for interviews either.” She said coolly. “You can call me Whip Cord. The most famous thing I’ve been involved in so far was that robot army mess in Brewster a few months back.”
Styx nodded; What happened in Brewster wasn’t really the direst robotic threat that had taken place, that honor belonged to a cluster of air-borne nanites gone rouge in the 90s, but it coinciding with Titan’s return had made it a national event.
“Oh yeah, that was pretty crazy. I wish I’d been there; situation seemed like a perfect opportunity to really flex my powers.”
And just like that, what was supposed to be a part of a series of brief introductions turned into a lengthy conversation as they both got to work. Both started talking about the different kinds of Supers they’d faced and which they preferred, which ultimately lead to Styx listening to the woman’s far longer list of encounters.
The conversation revealed Styx’s guess was right, though Whip-Cord naturally never gave anything to specific. Her power, on top of the clear super-strength she displayed when picking up rubble, allowed her to extend any of her limbs several dozen meters with tremendous force. The coils underneath her skin would coil and bunch up, visibly heat up with a red hue, before expanding forward in a fraction of a second. She naturally had enhanced durability to survive the physical stress and heat of her abilities, making her quite hardy apparently.
Styx was curious of how she measured up to Gadreel and Obsidian Wraith, but sadly she was called to help elsewhere by the time he’d mustered up the courage. And just as Whip Cord was getting to the good part of a story about facing off against a Super that could inflict irreparable damage with frisbees, hula-hoops, and a pole vault stick.
It was well after noon by the time the Heroes and PEERs team managed to finish cleaning up the street and made sure no other buildings were about to collapse. Everyone, even those with enhanced endurance, were ready to go home, shower, and relax for a bit.
Though before everyone started to leave in earnest, Spectrum walked over and whispered something to Styx that made him stop short.
“You can’t be serious.” The intern said as he turned to look back at Levi, who was now unshifted and grimacing at all the dust caking her suit.
“Come on, I got the place clear just for you for the day.” Spectrum said, urging him on with a smile.
Styx shook his head, but jogged toward his girlfriend anyways, easily catching her attention. And when she heard what he had to say, she promptly began to spaz out.
“Are you serious? They’re only telling us now? I’m fucking filthy and seriously need a power nap.” Levi grumbled, but pointedly did not say she was against the arrangement and her eyes brimmed with nervous excitement that belied her tone.
“Don’t worry, the spots reserved for the entire day. So, we’ve got time.” Styx reassured her, and with a heart felt hug made slightly embarrassing by the public venue, they both went off to prepare.
Several hours later, after some very intensive showering and quick sleep, both Shane and Levi stood in front of a quaint little café at the edge of the business district. It looked to be fairly high class, all gleaming metal and glass with a flowery design in a rainbow patter that consumed the entire floor. Contrasting strongly with its significantly lower quality neighboring restaurants and closed sign hanging across the front door in big blocky letters.
Ignoring the sign, they both walked in and Levi took the time to take a nice long look at her boyfriend’s unmasked face for the first time. He was white, as she expected was the case and what most of the public didn’t, and had nearly crew-cut short, obsidian hair. His eyes were a slightly lighter shade than his hair but not by much, and his face was just as angular and serious looking as she thought it would be.
‘He’s not exactly a dreamboat.’, Levi concluded as Shane introduced them to the jolly owner with an impressively long, blonde beard. ‘Not unless someone had a fetish for tall-dark-and-serious. But that wasn’t what I’d been expecting anyways.’, she thought with smile as she looked over his leather windbreaker, dark blue jeans, and dress shoes and found it acceptable for a casual date. At least compared to her green and blue blouse and black umbrella.
“I’ll just have a glass of water.” Shane said as they were sat at table near the back, out of line of sight from the entrance.
“I want a toasted bagel with butter and some orange juice.”, Levi said. After waiting for the blonde man to nod and leave for the back, she asked, “So, that guy’s a friend of Spectrum or something?”
“Something like that.”, Shane admitted. “He didn’t get any more specific than that other than saying that Earl over there can keep a secret.”
“Ok then, so why only water?” Levi said. “I know Heroes are known for eating healthy, but this seems a little much.” She teased.
Shane huffed. “I have to keep my svelte figure somehow. What about you? Doesn’t Riptide have some kind of weird diet plan for PEERs?”
“Yeah, but my leader isn’t watching right now, so fuck ‘em.” She chuckled before straightening up. “Ah, and before I forget; my name is Tanya Jelani. Would have felt strange to not give you my real name after you’ve unmasked for me.”
“Shane DeSoto”, The young man simply replied with a sardonic smile.
Tanya giggled. “Thank you~”, She then reached over with one hand and intertwined her fingers with his. “Now then; I believe I promised you a shoulder to cry on.”