The next two days passed in relative peace after Shane’s date; the team checked their armory and garage, looked out for any signs of the White Boars preparing to attack, with some light training on the side. Emphasis on the “light”; It wouldn’t do to have teammates exhausted and out of costume in the gym in case of a sudden attack.
Then, on the third day, it was time. Time for the team to take a tour of Riptide LLC’s local location, a trip which none seemed especially excited for and that Pulp seemed actively suspicious of. Shane hadn’t been able to dig anything really reprehensible about the politician/business woman that had invited them, at least nothing worse than the average politician’s history.
As Shane got up at his usually early hour and made his way toward the showers, after undressing, he was momentarily distracted by the paper-thin scar stretching across half his torso. It was always slightly disconcerting to see, especially since the memory of how he’d gotten the injury was still so vivid. He wouldn’t go so far as to say that the experience had traumatized him, but it was definitely the most grievous injury he’d ever sustained in his life and if it hadn’t been for the timely response of a healer than he doubted he would’ve lived through the experience.
~ ~ ~ ~
“Good mornin’.” Greg greeted Shane as he walked into the kitchen, the shorter man coming close to slurred speech as he scarfed down some colorful looking cereal. Amy was also at the table and scrolling through some forum he didn’t recognize.
“Morning.” Shane said as he stepped further into the room and caught sight of what was on the television. Relief flooded through him as he saw that Styx was no longer the center of attention, now some other team called Vermillion Wave, specifically their only intern who was a woman in a brown costume with yellow-grey eye covers, were currently swamped in controversy over slagging a forest at the Canadian border. Ultra-Mountie, Canada’s equivalent of the DVA, had gotten involved and it had yet again stirred up the topic of their being some kind of international coalition of Heroes.
“Ah, looks like Auora’s in some trouble.” Vanessa commented as she walked in with water bottle in hand before turning to Amy with a frown. “No electronics at the table.” She said sternly.
Amy huffed but complied and moved both herself and her laptop to the couch situated on the opposite side of the room.
“You know who that is?” Shane asked, inclining his head toward the woman being discussed on the news before going to the fridge in search of some fruit.
“She is one of our fellow graduates from Vista.” Greg said before Vanessa could respond. “And in case you couldn’t guess by the fact that she melted an entire forest, she is by far the strongest of the ten that graduated.”
Shane hummed in interest before grabbing two pears and shouldering the fridge door closed. “Control major?”
“You got it; just like you. Anyone sane with her kind of destructive potential would go for that major.”
Shane hummed his understanding before relaxing back into a chair. “Well I hope for her sake that negotiations with Ultra-Mountie goes well. One slight international issue is bad enough for the DVA, and that’s just with criminals. Pissing off another country’s Super combat-force is on a whole other level of complicated.”
“Amen.” Greg agreed.
“Oh yeah; Where are our mentors? They usually wake up earlier than we do.” Vanessa asked before briefly using her power to float over to the couch with an orange in hand.
“I’ve been wondering the same.” Shane said.
“They’re down in the meeting room, along with Joel, arguing about whether or not we should go to Riptide LLC ourselves or to let their Corpies team escort us.” Amy helpfully informed them, a smile tugging at her lips before she said. “And Rikki is currently using some very colorful langue right now.”
“How do you…” Vanessa started to ask before trailing off as Amy tapped the small, grey device fit snugly into her ear, nigh unnoticeable unless someone was looking for it.
“They’re that conflicted about it?” Shane asked.
“More like they decided to bring in your agent, Lenny, and he’s the one that decided to go against the grain and advocate for the escort.” Amy replied.
“That’s Lenny; always going for the angle that either gets his client more publicity or money.” Shane sighed, though he knew that exact quality, on-top of his skill at telling what a client needs day-to-day to stay mentally stable, was why Lenny was such a top-tier agent. The young man got up and made his way out of the kitchen. “I guess I’ll go down there and see if I can help with Lenny. Need to get dressed and get my ear-piece first though…” His voice trailed off to a mumble as he walked down the hall.
“Might as well join him, I’ve got nothing better to do.” Greg said before following.
“Same.” Vanessa agreed and floated in tow.
Amy remained in the room, however. She didn’t really care about this trip or how they got to the building, as long as it didn’t require any long-term commitments. Most would have been worried about making sure they were completely ready before such a big event so as not to make their friends late or wait, but having superspeed tended to change someone’s perspective of how much time was needed to get dressed. No, right now she was more interested in her weekly ritual of checking on her fellow graduates from Vista University; taking tabs on who was still alive or dead.
~ ~ ~ ~
…Of course, they were all still alive, the class she’d been apart of was hardly what anyone would call weak, and the only reason she restricted herself to weeks was because it usually took days for relevant news on any of them to bubble up. The young Hero planned on making some of them teammates, but that was years down the line, for now though she just wanted to keep tabs on them for after her internship and when networking became more important.
It would probably just be her, Styx, Gadreel, and Samshiel for a good few years after their internship was over. And though she still couldn’t think of a good team name, she still wanted to at least have a vague plan of who would eventually fill out the rooster.
‘At least the escort is fast.’ Shane thought as he stood, the energy field around him whisking through the air, weaving between and above buildings.
The whole team was standing in a solid, marron cube of energy that was being sustained by a tall woman with red hair called Carol. The, Shane supposed the correct term would be “texture”, of the field of energy was kind of runny, almost like a wax sculpture melting but without dripping.
Carol had arrived and introduced herself, with ID card and all, as their escort soon after the team had come to an agreement with Lenny. The woman with long, red hair and freckles had claimed that the shield protected them from both physical attacks and some mental abilities. Though essentially being sitting ducks in one easy-to-blast space still worried most of the team, this assuaged their fears at least marginally.
“You’re looking contemplative.” Samshiel commented as he walked over to Gadreel, his orange and black costume contrasting badly with the energy around them.
“It’s nothing much.” Gadreel said as she looked through the semi-translucent shield at all the people below taking the opportunity to snap pictures with their phones. “I just promised myself during senior year I wouldn’t trade safety for the chance at PR, only to wind up agreeing to do just that less than a year into my internship.”
“I assure you we are more than safe; I used to be a PEERS operative myself and have blocked some pretty impressive attacks. And we should arrive at Riptide LLC in only a minute or two.” Carol tried to reassure them.
Obsidian Wraith snorted, but nobody else decided to comment further or question what she defined as “strong attacks”. But true to her word, not even two minutes later, Carol had landed them on the expansive front lawn of Riptide LLC.
And the expansive building more than complimented the truly gargantuan building itself.
The high-rise was wider than most, more like a modern castle made of glass, steel, and marble than anything else. The front gates openly displayed some obviously super-tech additions and enhancements on top of the standard electronically locked gate, and the entire thing easily outshined any of the Hero bases in the city in terms of sheer grandeur. And Styx could almost see where Tanya had mentioned the building was unofficially split into sections.
There was the, unofficially dubbed, “Rescue section”, that they were currently in front of that sported a robust garage alongside its entrance. This was where the PEERS team members basically lived and looked visibly sturdier than the rest of the building. The middle looked more like your typical office building where most of the paper-pushers and management did their work; from the lowliest interns to the financial advisers and PR specialists. And last was the quasi-museum and half-lounge where the general public and potential applicants could tour to get a media-friendly idea of what the Riptide LLC was all about.
The Pristine Strikers were going to get a far more intensive and honest view of how things worked here, or at least that was what Senator Laurel Decker had promised.
Styx’s tensioned eased just a bit as Tanya, or Levi now that she was back in costume, and her entire team had come out to greet them as they made their way towards the entrance, the two groups merging into one in a buzz of conversation.
“She looks positively giddy.” Simikiel commented as she watched the taller woman excitedly talk with Obsidian Wraith, obviously a fan of the legacy Heroine.
“Ta- Levi’s just happy the team I’m on has a chance to network with hers’s.” Styx explained.
“Does that mean she’ll be angry when Spectrum and Pulp shoot down whatever deal Decker has planned for us?” Simikiel asked at a volume barely low enough to be called conspiratorial.
Styx grumbled but didn’t disagree, she was right of course, but that didn’t mean he had to like it.