Part 3

by CM Towns

   The next day Frank gave Araminta a tour of the EXECUTIVE FLOOR of the secret headquarters. Frank was in torn jeans, a shirt from the band Choking Victim and joked about how he had to cut his mohawk a few inches because it gave him away when he was out in public. He had a few earrings and a tongue piercing that Araminta could not help but notice when he talked. He said his hero name was SUBHUMAN but he’s still working on his outfit which would be ‘none of that spandex nonsense.’ His power was shooting electricity from his hands.
   The night before Frank and Elijah gave a bit more detail about how they all got together. Explaining that Reina Titán and her partner Red Sprite had started looking into mysterious abductions on part of the East Coast based on a tip. This lead them to Kid Victory who had met up with Huntsman in Charlotte all while looking for some teens abducted from his home base of KIRBY CITY. Kirby City was the centerpiece of KIRBY COUNTY. A now a glamorous hub of super-activity. From there the four rescued Elijah and others from a Teiwaz facility. Some who had not been experimented on and a few who had. Sadly, the ones who did suffer through did not retain the cognitive thought process like Elijah but instead devolved into a more animalistic mental state.
   Frank related to her how the Teiwaz tried to attack him in a subway but he was rescued by Reina Titán, Kid Victory and Elijah who called himself MISTER MONSTER because he did not like Reina-or JESSIE as it slipped out-nickname for him which was BEASTLY.
   They went on to talk about their brief residence in Kirby City, at a lair of one of Kid Victory’s enemies. This was until they were found out and attacked, leaving SubHuman with a bullet wound in his shoulder. This current facility was brought to their attention by a contact of Reina’s. A secret headquarters that was being built for nefarious means-the facility was built into the SEKOWSKY MOUNTAINS in WEST VIRGINIA. The facility essentially had four floors. The top floor which was hundreds of meters up was the HANGAR for aircrafts, which they had one they stole from the Teiwaz. The bottom floor, hundreds of meters below them was the GARAGE and had one white van as of now. It also included a storage facility and was the site where their associate super scientist was working on a special teleporter.

   The two floors in the middle of the mountain, close to one another included the LIVING AREA area. A few dozen small bedrooms including a handful of larger ones with private bathrooms. There were also shower rooms and restrooms, the cafeteria and kitchen, and a nice sized gym with a pool(that was a short staircase walk below the gym). There was also a few larger rooms that were currently empty and the Theater Room. Elijah and Frank gave her that tour the night before. Not much of one, just pointing out where the important areas were and mentioning the few signs that could help if she got lost. Her favorite part of that floor was in fact the theater room. It felt like a private movie theater you would find in the home of a rich celebrity. Reed had laid claim to it with a video game system hooked up and his preference to sleep there. Still, after a bit of frustration from Reed, they watched Mean Girls the night before. A personal favorite of Araminta’s.
   Above the living area was the Executive floor with ops rooms, armory, infirmary, cells, work rooms, labs and more.
   Araminta was being very attentive. Everything was strange, disturbing, scary, and surprisingly exciting. Araminta contributed this to the mix of her current location and the fact she has had a lack of human contact for a few years. She also hadn’t held a conversation with teenage boy in the same amount of time which is why Araminta felt charmed by Frank. As they made their way around he mused about over-the-top supervillain types and how they had to have their big lairs. Talked about how their scientist associate was thinking of renovations and how they probably would not be using a lot of what was available.
   “Anything else?” he asked as they were making their way to the elevator.
   “You said the second elevator is for freight?” Araminta asked and pointed knowing the answer already. She just wanted to keep him talking.
   “Yeah, one regular sized and a freight elevator.”
   “You said that-um-Tesla was working on a teleporter?”
   “He was-I think he finished or put it on hold to start working on the second one in Kid Victory’s bunker or something.”
   “Is there an opposite of a mad scientist?” asked Araminta.
   “I guess it’s just super scientist. I only met him a few times even when he was staying here. I don’t know where he was sleeping but he kept to himself while working along. Seemed like a nice enough guy,” Frank said.
   “You said him and this-um-Professor person are Kid Victory’s partners? What about KID MARVEL?” inquired a very curious Araminta. Kid Marvel was Kid Victory’s partner for most of his active career.
   “I don’t know about that, sorry,” he said before they entered the elevator. Once inside they started to make their way down. Araminta was working out more questions to ask. Her eyes looked over to him and she thought back to her days in school. Her middle school was still in uniforms so she did not know if there were any punks attending her classes. They had an interesting style, based on what she had seen in movies and television. She thought of them as bad boy types.
   “What you thinking?” he asked.
   “I was just thinking I never really met any punk guys before. Or at least-that I knew about,” she said as they exited the elevator.
   “Where are you from?” he asked.
   Araminta smiled and looked down. “I’d rather not talk about that.”
   Frank nodded as they walked. Araminta flashed to her old home and her family. She missed them and felt a choking feeling that she settled away. Araminta breathed in and put on a smile. “I can tell you it was not New York. I always wanted to visit there.”
   “It’s an awesome city. Me and my friends going to shows, hanging out at the parks, getting into all kinds trouble,” he said.
   The two arrived at the theater room. Loud noises made up of gun shots, voices, and background music blared over the sound system. Reed was two rows in with his hand on the controller. They walked up to the top row and went down to the middle where Elijah was. Elijah had a tablet and was using it to read until they arrived, that’s when he looked over and nodded at them.
   “How do you like the executive floor?” he asked.
   “It was like something out of a video game or movie. You guys have a chem lab and cells. And guns!” Araminta exclaimed in a manner most surprised.
   “Many guns that will just collect dust since I doubt we will be bringing them to the showdowns,” Elijah said.
   “Unless their non-lethal. Though Reina is a little more lenient about that,” Frank said.
   “Jessie and Antoine have had a different range of threats,” Elijah pointed out.
   “Now they’re together, working against common enemies. Beating the shit outta Nazi scumbags,” Frank said watching the game unfold on screen. “What are you playing!?”
   “New Mass Effect!” Reed shouted back.
   “Araminta-your name is rather unique. The only person I am aware of with that given name is Harriet Tubman,” said Elijah.
   “The underground railroad?” Frank asked.
   “Indeed. Araminta Harriet Ross. Minty was her nickname. You here to guide us to victory against our adversaries?” considered Elijah with wink and a smile.
   “I don’t know about that. My powers don’t do much for fighting, just surviving. I’m always ready to make a run for it. See! Emergency clothes,” she pulled the collar on her cute Hello Kitty shirt.
   “So those are not the clothes Jessie left for you?” Elijah asked. “I am a little disappointed. I liked the idea of Reina having a soft spot for Hello Kitty products.”
   “So how do you store your emergency supplies?” Frank asked.
   “My transportation ability can also be used to store items so I have some emergency supplies. Not electronics cause they can short circuit-usually just when they’re on but I did not want to try long term storage,” she answered. A thought occurred to her and she asked Elijah, “Do you do anything? I mean-power wise. I know Frank said you’re the teams Hulk so you just have like incredible strength?”
   Elijah shook his head. “I do have increased strength but I am no Hulk. Not quite sure exactly how strong I am, however I’m the third strongest on the team. I am probably the second fastest on the ground. I do have heighten senses, I can crawl on walls, plus a healing factor, and that is it as far as I can tell,” he said.
   “Hey, Reina called you right? Got any info from the others?” asked Frank.
   “She did not give me the details, but did say they will be bringing some cash to buy more food and supplies,” he answered.
   “If you guys aren’t government funded how do you have money? I’m guessing Reina’s contact had to be government to know about a place like this,” Araminta said.
   “Reina hit a money train of the Teiwaz except she grabbed the part with treasures. Her contact is…” Frank looked at Elijah and he shook his head. Frank looked back at Araminta and said, “Yeah, well, she has contacts who made this happen. When you meet her and the others they’ll let you know.”
   “Which-by the way-Reina was indeed curious if you planned to join forces. She asked because her friend can make you a swanky superhero outfit. She must be good, she designed Reina, Red Sprites and mine as well,” Elijah said.
   Araminta’s mind tried thinking of how a costume would look on Elijah. “How does your outfit look?” she wanted to know.
   “Well-it’s okay. You do not really need to hide your identity when you look like this. Plus my healing means I don’t need to necessarily wear protective gear. It’s a very basic outfit-our scientist buddy actually constructed it from the design, allowing me to be able to wear it and stick to walls,” he answered.
   “This Tesla guy sounds overworked,” commented Araminta.
   “He is but he really enjoys it. Plus I’m sure he has help we just don’t know about,” Frank said.
   “About Reina’s question-like I said, I don’t know about fighting crime. Though I am kinda curious about a costume. I just don’t think I’d be good at saving the day,” Araminta said.
   “Good or not, your talents would give us the extra edge. We’re already a total bad ass teen rebel force fighting the armies of super-evil. But a good team can always use more bad ass chicks,” Frank responded.
   Araminta started combing her hair with her fingers and hid her blushing. “I don’t know about bad ass.”
   “Come on. On the run for a few years. Hiding out in a mall. Handling yourself. That’s bad ass,” he complimented.
   “I’d love to hear more about your mall adventures. Probably more interesting than this FPS that Reed is playing,” Elijah said.
   “Well…” Araminta beamed, she started recounting her time living in a mall while they watched Reed play his game. All the while Frank and Elijah nodding, joking, and assuring her she should take up their cause and take down the Teiwaz.