Styx stared up at the flowing dome above him and tried to quite the aches and pains that echoed throughout his body. He was a member of the Class of Nightmares, a little pain wasn’t going to shake him too much, but that didn’t make this exactly a picnic either.
He glanced to the side as Vigor kneeled next him pointed at the break between his body armor and helmet. “Dispatch just directed me to stabilize you before help came, just in case.”
With a grunt Styx nodded in affirmation before letting out a sigh of relief as, at Vigor’s contact with his neck, he felt most of the sharper pains and aches die away while his bleeding stopped all together.
Eventually there was a muted flash of azure light from outside of the dome, making the shadows around the area warp slightly, Styx had promised to not keep up the blade shield not that he would let his guard down, a few seconds later a hole in the field appeared and a woman in a flowing cloak made of golden-flames stepped through. Styx recognized her as Reverent Fire, one of the more recent members of the Remedy Squad.
She lifted a white gloved hand toward him and a pillar of flame as thick as a fist impacted the chest of his costume and flowed over him, immediately numbing the pain and suffusing Styx’s body with a pleasant warmth.
“Hey, Vigor.” Reverent Fire said. “You need any healing? They told me it was a pretty rough attack.”
Vigor shook his head as he stood up and took a step back from Styx’s prone form. “You should know me better than that by now kid. My suit got a little torn up, but it’ll take more than bullets and a brick wall to break me.”
Styx wasn’t sure, because of the constant glow from the golden-fire that obscured features on top of her full-face mask, but he could have sworn he saw Reverent Fire roll her eyes. But then soon his thoughts became fuzzy as the fire dissipated and he suddenly felt incredibly tired, if in a pleasant way.
“Come on, I’ve been part of the team for a year now.”, Reverent Fire whined, with no real annoyance in her voice. The pillar of fire connecting her to Styx flashed out in a small trail of smoke before she continued. “… Is this that Styx kid?”
Styx felt himself want to sit-up and object to being called a “kid” but felt his mind slip fully into unconsciousness, missing Vigor’s response.
The first thing Shane noticed as he returned to the waking world was the soft bed he was laying on and the sound of someone talking above him.
“Kid? Kid are you there?” Jack’s familiar and deep voice intoned.
“I’m getting really sick of that phrase.” Shane groaned as he opened his eyes… and then immediately closed them as the sick bay’s ceiling lights stabbed at his eyes. “Literally every Hero so far can’t seem to help themselves. I’d honestly rather have to deal with being called a “rookie”.” He finished, lips curled into a bit of a smile to show he was mostly jesting.
“Heh, sorry.”, Jack said, chuckling a bit with Shane. “I saw you stirring and may have jumped the gun a bit.” His face became more somber however as his intern sat up and looked over his form. There were no wires to elaborate machinery and bandages, even though they had some in stock in case of emergencies, but the jeans and t-shirt he was in spoke volumes all on their own.
“I’m getting benched for the day?”
“The event’s cancelled and you passed-out after being healed by Reverent Fire. Elizabeth and Vanessa are retiring to their quarters, and we’ve got an impromptu meeting set-up tonight as well.”
“Aren’t Greg and Hugh still out on patrol?”
“Yeah, but it’s unlikely they’ll see any action today. Anyone smart wouldn’t want to pull anymore unnecessary attention after an attempt like this.”
“The White Boars don’t seem all that bright if I’m being honest.” Shane almost hissed the response but kept his tone in check. “Seriously; the only criminals with the balls to try and pull a move like this are either seriously smart and prepared or dangerously idiotic.”
“Now Shane, don’t go underestimating them. It’s entirely possible that their gang as a whole is the worst of both worlds simultaneously.”
* * *
Samshiel kept clenching and unclenching his fists as he tried to watch every window on the street that he was walking down. It had been a few minutes since Dispatch had told them the news, yet he was still so nervous. He still maintained a group of ten mini-eclipses and two shields around himself in an erratic orbit, however. Like most interns, when panic set in, he naturally fell back on his training.
“You’re distracted.”, Terram’s deep warble of a voice sounded out. He had told the public earlier in his career that even he didn’t completely understand how he could talk in this form, though now that Samshiel was on the team, he was now privy to the fact that it was due to what could best be described as an oscillating knot of tendrils underneath his skin.
“Just cautious.” Samshield replied in an unintentionally clipped toned. “I ain’t particularly keen on the idea of getting shot.”
“Hrrn.” Terram grumbled as his ovoid eyes almost imperceptibly furtively glanced at the few people walking the streets of this neighborhood. “You should probably keep that under-wraps.”
“Yeah, sorry. Just nerves I guess.” Samshiel said before waving at a trio of teenagers that were taking pictures of them. Then he saw a group of children sitting with their mother and decided to pass the time with a little entertainment; some of them were already beginning to gawk anyways.
The children gasped and squealed as a series of mini-eclipses streaked over and flowed in a helix pattern overhead, one particularly enthusiastic girl with pink pigtails jumping up in an attempt vain to touch them, not that they would’ve hurt to touch anyway. Samshiel kept a few close to him just in case though; today had made it more than clear that danger could come at any moment.
A creepy, whinnying chuckle from Terram’s shifted form drew back the intern’s attention. “You sure are a natural at endearing yourself to the humans. Some Heroes like to look down at that stuff but that’s mostly just bravado on their part.”
Samshiel nodded his understanding. He wasn’t stupid, he wouldn’t let himself get to absorbed in PR work, but he also knew how important it truly was. Heroes weren’t just another branch of law enforcement; they were the most well-known and judged representatives of Supers everywhere; It was imperative that they made a good impression as often as practically possible. “Yeah, it’s a little something my mom inspired me to do. Speaking of; why don’t you try it more often then? You’ve got the whole ‘strong and silent’ Hero persona going on.”
Terram shook his head. “No amount of experience or gumption is going to make my form soothing to look at.” The older man said, waving a massive grey hand at his alien looking face for emphasis. “Besides; you’ve already got competition with that intern that arrived here a year before you did. ‘Goblyn’, with a ‘yn’, I believe he’s called. Interns on the Atomic Conjurers.”
Samshiel snorted as they crossed over into an alleyway, skipping a block, and he recalled his orbs, much to the children’s lament. “Wouldn’t call it much of a competition, I’ll have caught up in a month or two, easy.” He said with some bravado and elbowed his mentor a little when he chuckled again.
They on kept their patrol like that, completely oblivious to the floating invisible thing that was watching them from afar.