San Francisco, USA – Tuesday, the 12th of June 2012. 12:12 PM.
Before the blackout and the overwhelming pain that had triggered it, Chris had seen a man at the center of the telekinetic vortex. Then her world was reduced to a precognitive loop of breaking bones, dislocated joints and bruised skin that blanketed everything else out. Coming to her senses was a slower process, devoid of any supersensory feedback and much more pleasant.
It began with a feeling of weightlessness. There was a brush of cool air against the skin of her face, then a steady hum that sounded familiar in a way her brain wasn’t ready to process just yet. The absence of pain sparked a single thought.
Something tickled Chris’s face, and she opened her eyes just far enough to see strands of dark brown hair sway in the air current. Further below, a pair of brown furred arms dangled against a smooth metallic surface that was the color of a cloudy sky. The metal seemed to emit that perpetual hum that filled the air and her ears and vibrated faintly against her face.
That’s me, she realized. I’m upside down. Why?
Chris made the effort to move and saw one of those dangling arms sweep against the metal plating that was underneath it. My arm. Now that her dazed mind began to clear, she could see a huge sword blade and two armor plated legs extend below, floating over some kind of roof. The wind brought a cacophony of rumbles and screams that put a sick feeling in her gut before she remembered what it was.
Oh god. All those people. Peter. Ryan. Why am I not feeling them?
Chris tried to say something to the floating pair of legs and groaned instead. A familiar female voice spoke into her ear, and the floating movement stopped. As Chris began to mentally connect all those body parts, she realized that she was hanging in the air, suspended over a broad metallic shoulder with her legs dangling over the side she couldn’t see. The metal-plated legs below her belonged to someone else.
“…awake? Please do not try to move. Paladin will set you down somewhere safe. Your friend is being escorted outside right now,” Athena’s voice said into her ear.
“Mascot,” a harsh male voice joined in. “I need another forcefield. Can you look up?”
“…try,” Chris managed. She struggled to lift her head off the metal surface. A hard plated hand adjusted its grip on her, and her legs on the other side slid a few inches down, allowing her to straighten up and see more of the gray-blue expanse of sky that was all around her.
“Looking up,” Chris croaked into the microphone that was somehow still dangling next to her lips.
Samael’s black masked, gray and silver figure appeared near the edge of her field of vision, floating just above the edge of the stadium. Chris mustered enough willpower to project a forcefield, then let her head sink back down against Paladin’s bulky power armor. She was exhausted already, and the strain of moving effort left her feeling dizzy and breathless.
“Chris, you got her. You got Mirage!” Overdrive’s voice came through her earbud, whooping with juvenile cheer. “The Covenant is…”
His voice cut off, replaced by the flat monotone of Athena’s voice. “My drones have located One Fell Swoop. He disabled one and is now attempting to flee from the area, using the crowd as cover.”
Paladin set in motion again, floating further up and away from the edge of the stadium. Chris’s view of the stands began to dwindle away. “No,” she protested. “Want to know… what’s going on.”
Maybe people need forcefields. I need to know if they’re okay. A flashback of the panicked, jostling jostling crowd sent another wave of dizziness through her body, forcing her to close her eyes for a moment.
Paladin stopped, hovering twenty feet above the upper deck. Then he turned and floated back to the stadium, aligning himself at an angle that allowed both of them to see over the edge of the stadium and into the ballpark.
The telekinetic maelstrom of hurled objects still raged on, dense enough to block the view the dreadlocked man she’d seen before passing out. The effect now spanned a diameter of about a hundred feet, with more items still being sucked towards the center from the outlying stands.
“A recent transition,” Paladin explained, addressing Chris directly without using the microphone. “We have no records of him, but it doesn’t matter. Samael is about to end this.”
But you guys can’t do anything to help the people down there. Chris closed her eyes for a second, then forced them open to witness the end of this. She couldn’t spot Samael’s streaming ribbons and assumed he was waiting in cover.
“That vortex guy isn’t gunning for the spectators,” she said after a few seconds of watching paper cups, baseballs and a myriad other objects orbit around the concealed center. “I don’t think any these guys were planning to.”
“Not directly,” Paladin replied flatly.
They were probably after you heroes. Tried to provoke you into suicide against One Fell Swoop’s power feedback. Chris didn’t share that thought. She was too exhausted, and it didn’t seem urgent enough to make the effort.
Athena spoke up over the coms in her stead. “One Fell Swoop is down. Go, Samael.”
“As you wish, my queen,” Samael replied without even a hint of sarcasm or mockery. If anything, his tone expressed a kind of amiable respect Chris had never picked up from him before.
She discarded the thought as irrelevant and turned her attention back to the sky, just in time to see a silvery grey flash plunge through the air. It stopped above the open center of the stadium with a spread of silver ribbons. Barely a second later, the sphere of orbiting objects erupted upwards with the kinetic force of a bomb – towards Samael’s figure in the sky.
Samael reacted by shooting himself upwards, but part of the barrage crashed into him. Then the whole vortex of makeshift projectiles froze in midair and reversed their movement, pushed back down by opposing powers. They didn’t just drop; they came crashing down onto the lone figure on the ballpark to be flattened by extreme air pressure. So extreme, in fact, that even some of the largest objects that had been caught within the whirling sphere vaporized into dust.
At the center of it all, where the dreadlocked Evolved had stood, a haze of blood splattered across an impossibly large area.
Holy shit. Having witnessed Samael’s power in action, Chris still classified him as a jerk, but she had no intention to ever tell him that to the face. She wasn’t sure her forcefield would survive that kind of strain.
“Samael, were you hurt?” Athena’s voice asked over the coms, full of amiable concern.
“No,” came his answer, equally amiable. “The forcefield is gone, but it did the job.”
Because you didn’t trust it enough not to dodge. Smart of you, I guess.
“Normally, I would argue that someone as young as you are shouldn’t have had to witness that,” Paladin said, turning away from the scene to continue his slow descent away from the stadium.
“I’ve seen worse,” Chris mumbled against his armor. Helen surfaced in her mind, broken and bloodied to the point where she barely looked human.
And don’t get me started on what Legion made me feel.
“I don’t doubt it,” Paladin replied.
Chris tried to shut the sounds of the ongoing stampede out of her mind. Even without feeling them, she knew all too well that countless people were still getting hurt down there, possibly even little kids. She hadn’t been able to do much about it before, and given her current state, it was doubtful Paladin would let her even if she tried.
The hum of Paladin’s power armor changed to a higher pitched whir as they approached ground level. As far as Chris could see, Paladin was floating towards a location at the end of the stadium’s forecourt, not far from the Whitefield business center where she and Peter had been waiting for the heroes not long ago. Now, an official looking armored black vehicle with tinted windows parked there, right next to an ambulance with flashing blue lights. Security personnel with UN uniforms surrounded both vehicles, their heads tilted up towards the sky and the approaching hero.
An ambulance? Is it waiting for me? Something told Chris that it was, and she remembered getting hurt, but she didn’t feel any of it. She couldn’t feel her danger sense, either. That part of her was strangely vacant, as if her power wasn’t there anymore.
“Hey, Paladin,” Chris said. “Why did all that pain just go away?”
“I temporarily disabled your power sense,” he said. “I’m glad I was able to reach you in time, Christina. After your evacuation, I gave you one of our emergency shots for the pain.”
Wish I had a Revoker on my team. Power nullification was one of the most useful Evolved abilities in Chris’s book, and it would have been nice to have someone who could disable her danger sense if it ever threatened to black her out again.
He didn’t say anything about me getting hurt. Chris glanced down at her arms, and now that she was giving them their full attention, she could see that one of them was slightly crooked. Something was poking against the furry costume from inside, causing a small bulge. She wasn’t even shocked by it. It all seemed so unreal without the pain.
A gurney with an attached IV bag had already been rolled out from the ambulance, and a small army of paramedics stood ready to receive her.
Paladin gently touched down on the paved plaza near the vehicle and lifted Chris off his plated shoulder, easing her onto the gurney. A half dozen hands stirred into action the instant he released her, readying equipment and cutting into the sleeve of her costume.
“The hospital staff have been cleared to use the Covenant’s medical equipment,” Paladin said. He stood next to her prone body, looking down at her from the glowing eye slit of his helmet. “Uberdoc designed it, so you won’t be out of commission for too long.”
Chris liked the sound of that. There was only one Healer in the world, but Uberdoc’s drugs and surgery tools were the second best option. She didn’t have the time to spend weeks in hospital. No hero did.
“Where’s Overdrive?” she asked, distracting herself from the IV needle that was being shoved into her arm.
“He isn’t hurt, Christina,“ Paladin said. “He will be with you as soon as possible.”
What about Ryan? She was about to ask, but swallowed the word before it slipped out. Paladin wasn’t a Visionary, so he wouldn’t know. “Okay,” she said. “I guess there’s enough Covenant heroes here to do what needs to be done.”
“You and your friend are welcome to join us for a debriefing when you’re well enough to leave the hospital,” Paladin said over the buzz of his armor charging for takeoff. “Someone will inform you of the time and location.”
“I can’t stay here in New York,” she replied. “Noire can’t be let out of her cell until I’m back at our HQ. Athena said as much.”
“I respect that.” He offered a dip of his helmet.
An explosion in the distance put an end to their chat. It was powerful enough to send a flash of light across the sky, and the sound of it rolled across the city like thunder. A few seconds later, a couple other explosions followed the first. Not as loud, but no less shocking.
Oh shit. The noise and thought pulled Chris from her peaceful daze, and she might have tried to get off the gurney if she wasn’t strapped to it. And then it dawned on her: the stadium was a distraction.
Paladin seemed to have drawn the same conclusion; he launched himself into the air without another word. Chris couldn’t see where he was going. The paramedics rolled her into the ambulance and shut the doors behind her.
The hospital staff were no miracle workers, but Uberdoc’s medical equipment allowed them to set the multiple fractures of Chris’s broken left forearm within a couple of hours. She’d been lucky enough to get away with a sprained right ankle and a dislodged shoulder. She needed a crutch regardless, and any kind of movement would be awkward for a few days at least, but she could manage.
The Covenant arranged for a private flight to take Peter and Chris back to San Francisco the same evening. She’d asked for a small personal refuge to herself, with towels and UN flags draped over seats or hung from the overhead compartment to suit her solitary mood. She leaned back against the window with her sprained ankle resting on a pillow, wrapped into a compression bandage. Her left forearm laid across her stomach in a cast, supported by a sling that sported the UN colors.
That left her with one free hand to check the news from her cell phone. The first bit of news was a text message by Kid that arrived just before Chris boarded the airplane. The contents of that message provoked Chris to start doing research the instant she got access to a wireless connection.
During the diversion of the events at the stadium, the UN headquarters in New York had been blown up along with a police administration building and a hotel. The thirty stories of its office tower were gone, evaporated by a combination of tech and powers that were still under investigation. Samael had flown over right after dealing with the Citi Field situation, but hadn’t been able to locate the perpetrators.
The total death toll was at over a thousand and still climbing. A couple hundred had been trampled to death in the stadium, with many more injured. The Secretary General survived because he held his speech from a different hotel than the one that had been made public.
Just before the attack on the UN headquarters, a good dozen high ranked UN operatives had been kidnapped from their homes or on their way to their offices. There didn’t seem to be enough evidence to even guess where they might have been taken to, and no demands had been made yet.
Athena captured One Fell Swoop during his attempted escape from the stadium, but Chris didn’t know if his interrogation revealed anything useful. Mirage died on the way to a hospital. The creator of the telekinetic maelstrom – tentatively named Vortex – definitely hadn’t survived Samael’s attack.
Over in Europe, a politician with close ties to the UN’s Evolved Committee had been kidnapped out of a live broadcast by NBE Britain. While no deaths had been confirmed as of yet, the intervening EU hero team hadn’t succeeded in arresting or eliminating even a single villain. One of the heroes had been hospitalized after nearly drowning in sewage water that still continued to leak from a rift above the NBE building.
Several news channels summarized the events as the emergence of villains. The term spread around the world, picked up by thousands of blogs and news sites.
Maybe worst of all, some persistent internet rumors suggested the manifestation of the Antithesis and their reality bending powers in Liverpool. The Covenant hadn’t confirmed or denied them. Even if the Antithesis turned out to be just another Evolved, that kind of power was serious business. Seeing as the Oracle had mentioned the Antithesis in her end of the world prophecies, the dreaded A-word spawned millions of posts and tweets, considerably more than the emergence of villains had.
Goodbye world order, Chris mused, tapping her cell phone against the side of her good knee. Hello villains. The worst part was that she didn’t have a single decent idea as to what she could do about it, or how the hell that kind of rumor made it into the internet. The UN should have had a strong interest in keeping that kind of information under cover.
The ping of an incoming message pulled her attention back to the cell phone, and she tilted it up to take a look. Her heart sped up a beat when she read the sender’s name. Athena. Her eyes flicked over the message, searching for the name she’d inquired about.
“Christina, regarding the favor you asked. I can tell you that your friend Ryan has been hospitalized at the Elmhurst hospital center. He suffered some minor injuries, but nothing grave. He should be released within a couple of days. Would you like someone to let him know you inquired about him?”
Chris looked down at the text for a moment, then closed her eyes, enjoying the surge of relief that washed over her. This was it. The piece of news she’d needed to relax just a little after the strain of the past hours.
Her text response to Athena consisted of five words: “Thank you. Please don’t tell him.”
She mostly succeeded in convincing herself that Ryan wasn’t part of her life anymore, and that it was probably for the best.
Chris’s reunion with Nora didn’t involve a lot of words, and after the stress of the past hours, she was grateful for the quiet. She still very meant to fulfill her promise to the Covenant, though she had to wonder how sticking close to Nora 24/7 was going to play out with a sprained ankle, a broken arm and a crutch.
At the time the Wardens team got back together, Nora had already read up on the events in New York and Liverpool from her smartphone. The two girls and Overdrive took the elevator up to the Wardens’ quarters in joint silence, watching each other’s gloomy expressions.
Just before the elevator stopped at the top level, Nora’s lips curled up a little as she was looking at Chris. “You’re turning into a real hero, you know,” she said. “If you’re not careful, you’re gonna save the world by accident.”
Overdrive smirked in turn. He didn’t respond right away, but waited for the elevator door to slide open and the girls to step out. “Yeah. You were so badass, I didn’t even get to do much this time.”
Chris could have pointed out that he hadn’t done much last time, either, but that would have been mean and not exactly true. He’d stayed with Kid in the cabin, made sure she was okay.
That counted for more than my lame attempt at challenging the bogeyman.
Emily was already waiting for them on the other side of the door leading to the Wardens quarters, her small fists pressed up against either side of her jaw with theatrical anticipation. Upon spotting Chris, she lowered her hands and called out.
“Guys! You should have seen the news, its craaaazy. You missed it, but don’t worry! I got it all recorded like a pro.” Her gaze dropped to Chris’s crutch, and she added, “Hey, now you’re Grumpyface Peg-leg.”
The infantile enthusiasm made Chris smirk a little. She hobbled over to the young Empath, then pinned the crutch within her armpit to reach out and squeeze Emily’s shoulder. “Hey, midget. Sounds great, but I really need a bathroom break first.”
“Here’s where I remind you that we got two bathrooms among us three,” Nora was happy to point out. She started down the long end of the room towards the two doors that flanked the far end of it. “Don’t cha let O outrun you now, Peg-Leg.”
“You two can go first,” Overdrive said. “I’m hungry, anyway. But maybe you need support to get into the shower?” He smirked at Chris, who gave him a finger before hobbling past.
Twenty minutes later, Chris had managed to get reasonably clean and change into a comfortable pair of sports trousers and a tank top, more slowly than she was used to. She’d invested several minutes in a nice long smoke as well. A real shower was out of the question for now, but she managed to wash and get the hospital taste out of her mouth by brushing her teeth.
When she got out of her room, the others had already spread across the couch and beanbag in the television corner, wearing casual outfits and eating out of Chinese take-away cardboard boxes. The smells that hung in the air made Chris’s mouth water. Her Chinese food expertise allowed her to identify lotus leaf rice, sesame paste and lemon duck among other things.
“You’re our guest of honor,” Peter declared with solemn earnestness and a gesture to the armchair. “We left your throne for you, mistress.”
Chris just stood there for a moment, dumbfounded. “That’s all the dishes I really like,” she finally said. “How’d you know?”
“Emily knew. Remember when you explained all the Chinese dishes to us? She paid attention to how you reacted to each of them. That was the reason we asked, actually.”
On cue, Emily raised her chopsticks with a hearty “Woo! Go me!”
Chris realized everyone was staring at her in a way she hadn’t noticed before. She had their full attention, but that wasn’t it. Nora grinned like a Cheshire cat. Emily’s mouth opened in surprise, and Peter looked as if he’d seen a pink elephant fly past the window. He was literally gawking.
“Do I have something on my face?” Chris asked, still dumbfounded.
“Yeah,” Peter said. “A smile. Do you know how cute you look when you smile? Aw, no. Don’t stop.”
“You spoiled it,” Emily protested. “If you hadn’t said anything, maybe she’d still smile tomorrow and I could call her Smileyface Peg-Leg.”
Chris made an effort to smile again as she hobbled over to the previously indicated armchair. A still untouched cardboard box that sat on the coffee table in front of it. “Whose idea was this?” she asked, carefully settling down without straining her sprained ankle.
“Emily apparently talked one of the girls down at reception into stopping by the Chinese diner as soon as you showed up,” Peter explained. “It’s pretty good, and just around the corner.”
“Special delivery for you,” Nora added. “You can feel good about yourself now.”
“Thanks, guys.” Chris reached for the box with one hand, glad for the chopsticks. Holding a fork and knife would have been out of the question.
“If you ask me, Mr. Turner should have gone himself,” Peter said. “What you pulled off was the best PR he could have asked for.”
“Mr. Turner is in a meeting with government people. I don’t think any of them feel good,” Emily replied, frowning. “And, um, they’re gonna send me home tomorrow. All of this recent stuff is too dangerous for a kid. Maybe you get a cool new someone or two to replace me?”
One more piece of good news.
Chris scooped up some lemon duck with her chopsticks. She shouldn’t have been recruited in the first place. The relief was tainted by a wistful sting somewhere close to her heart. Emily had been the one who’d supported her during the first day and onwards, back when Chris felt choked by her new life. She made the hero role bearable. Still, glancing aside at Peter and especially Nora, Chris felt confident enough that she could continue to pull through with this.
“Tomorrow already? Dang.” Peter breathed out a sigh. “But I guess it’s for the best. You’ll have a better life at home, going to school with your little friends.”
“If Mom and Dad are happy, it’s gonna be okay,” Emily said. “I just can’t be around sad and angry people. Having to be cute all the time so they smile and don’t give me their emotion poop sucks after a while. I don’t think I can be normal anymore, but I’m gonna try.”
“It’s not like we’re dead,” Nora said. “We can send text messages.”
“Hey, Chris.” Emily fixed a stern gaze on her. “Did you call your parents?”
“Yeah. I actually did,” Chris said with a bit of self-satisfaction. Nice that you asked instead of poking around in my head, she added silently.
“What did they say?” Peter asked.
Be a good girl, Christina.
“Goody!” Emily smiled, reaching over to pick the remote from the table. “You get to watch the stuff I recorded, then.”
“Would you have sent me to my room without dinner if I hadn’t called them?” Chris asked, hoping Peter would get the hint and drop the question.
“Yep. That’s exactly what I would have done,” Emily declared as she pressed the play button.
Chris shook her head without comment, opting to shovel a morsel of sticky rice into her mouth instead. It’s what my Dad might have done. She still wasn’t sure how she’d continue with her parents, but she would continue somehow. That much she’d decided.
The fruit juice commercial on the screen faded, and the Wardens were tuned in to a female news anchor’s voice in mid-sentence.
“…villains hijacked the live transmission to deliver a message of their own. Experts have confirmed that this broadcast may be viewed without risk of harmful side effects, but they also gave out a warning that the contents of the message can in no way be confirmed by scientific data. Please be aware that the following recording is classified as criminal propaganda and most likely intended to sow dissent within the International Community.”
No shit. Why else would villains hijack a TV studio to broadcast their own message? Chris tried to scoop another piece of duck into her mouth while keeping her eyes glued to the screen. The others seemed to share her anticipation, shuffling quietly on their seats.
“The whole transmission is over five minutes long. ANBE has selected the most relevant parts for you. If you want more information or wish to partake in a discussion with other viewers, please visit our website. The address is shown below.”
Chris didn’t pay attention to it, she was sure she’d find it online if the mood struck her. To her surprise, the person who appeared on screen wasn’t a masked criminal or a still image with a distorted voice-over. Instead, she saw a red-haired woman of a sturdier than average build, but otherwise remarkably normal. She had done her hair up into a bun and faced the camera with a level gaze. She spoke English with an Irish accent, pausing from time to time to consider her words.
“Hello, world,” the woman began. “My name’s Teresa Mullen, and I’m talking to you today out of my own free will. Without hiding my face, even though I could.” There was a short pause, there. “On the third of April this year, my nephew and I disappeared off the grid to save his life. He was twelve at the time.”
“The fuck?” Peter commented, sitting up straighter. “That’s not what I expected.”
“Shhh,” Nora cut in. He did her the favor and fell silent to watch the screen.
That’s not what I expected, either. She’s telling us her name? Is this a trick or something? Chris narrowed her eyes, searching for some kind of clue she might have overlooked. There wasn’t much to see apart from a white-walled room’s corner with the redhead in the foreground.
The self-proclaimed Teresa Mullen continued, taking one step towards the camera. “My nephew had a power surge. He never wanted this, but it happened, and the Covenant would have killed him even though he doesn’t have any offensive power.”
“Why the hell would she admit that? The UN’s going to be on their asses,” Peter said.
“Shhh,” Nora hissed off to the side. Their voices drowned out the next few words, and Chris couldn’t understand them despite leaning forward to shorten the distance to the TV screen. The image flickered, indicating a cut. The red-haired woman had changed position and moved towards the foreground, arms crossed over the front of her sweater.
“The feedback theory is wrong,” she said, voice firm. “New power surges happen when Evolved die, not when they’re just going about their lives. Killing all of us just makes things worse.”
The recording ended there. The program switched back to the ANBE newscaster whose wide eyes and slightly parted lips left little doubt as to how disconcerted she was by the revealed villain broadcast. “ANBE News continues to follow this story and will present new facts as they become available,” she said. “Remember to check our website…”
We already know about your website. Chris peered down into her cardboard box, noting that her food was about to get cold and that she wasn’t all that hungry. “There should be a less censored version of this somewhere online,” she said, putting her chopsticks down on the table. “I’d actually like to see it.”
“Me too,” Nora agreed. “The stuff they cut out is always the stuff you really wanna watch.”
“I recorded more,” Emily said. “Just watch!”
And indeed she had. A different channel, from the looks of it. This one showed bird’s view footage of the destroyed UN headquarters in New York as a helicopter flew over the area, allowing the viewer to take in all of the crumbling, blackened structure remnants and the radius of destruction around the destroyed building.
“…clear evidence that villains have become a reality,” a voiceover commentator declared. “While governments worldwide draw up emergency action plans, anxious civilians raid stores and hole up in bomb shelters. Countless schools in New York have been closed for the time being, and frightened parents keep their children within the relative safety of their homes.”
“Not a word about the heroes,” Peter observed. “Guess we’re out of the picture.”
“We’re not exactly heroes right now,” Chris said. “Compared to the Covenant, we’re just some kids with costumes. And if we want to do something about all this, we can’t wait around until Mr. Turner tells us to jump. The Department of Evolved affairs didn’t let you guys do anything for what, more than a year?”
Chris wasn’t yet sure how she could pull the ‘let’s do something’ part off without getting herself and Nora into trouble, but she was confident she’d figure something out.
“Can’t do much jumping if they handcuff us together, anyway,” Nora joked dryly. “Hope they’re not actually gonna do that. Can’t do any big leaps with that peg-leg of yours.”
“If you have to stay together, you have to be real nice to each other,” Emily declared, stern-faced. “Go eat ice cream together.”
“That’s not a bad idea,” Peter said. “Can I come along?”
“Maybe,” Chris said. “But we have more important things to do first. Like, decide what we’re going to do.”
She glanced down at her pocket with the cell phone, contemplating the various threads she was holding that could lead somewhere, maybe. Having Athena’s contact number and the Covenant’s goodwill was a start with some options she might explore sooner rather than later. There was also online research to be done, which might result in some ideas.
Maybe most importantly, she had to figure out how to work around the side effects of her danger sense before it got her killed. The mental exercise she’d developed during her imprisonment helped a little, but not nearly enough.
“What are you going to do about Mr. Turner?” Peter asked. “The man’s clearly got his own ideas about the Wardens.”
“He has people above him in the food chain,” Chris said. “Shit’s hitting the fan, and I’m one of only three Guardians. Actually, I’m the only one, with Sanctuary disappeared and Saint put into an artificial coma. They’ll have to give me some leeway.”
I’m the only Guardian left. Repeating the words in her head, she had a realization that surprised her enough to consider it for a moment.
She’d faced Data’s monster robot and lived, then was arrested because the powers that be needed her support badly enough to blackmail her into becoming a hero. She’d faced Legion, and turned the tide at the stadium by removing Mirage’s illusion. The Covenant itself, the world’s number one hero team, had been desperate enough to get her help that they agreed to her terms concerning Nora.
Chris wasn’t afraid of the authorities anymore.