Part 22

by CM Towns

   The team flew into the headquarters hangar using an SFV they snatched from the Teiwaz. Once settled in Araminta popped the team down to the living floor. It was quicker than the elevator. Everyone was tired and drained. Araminta was walking toward her room when Kid Victory caught up to her.
   “You did good,” he said.
   “Thank you.”
   “You were brave when faking our deaths. You smacked some guys when we went into the base. Elijah and Frank said you helped out in the fight-didn’t scare,” Kid Victory complimented her.
   “I was scared, believe me,” she said.
   “You still fought. You been with us for this crazy ride even though you’ve kept telling us you weren’t made for this,” Kid Victory said.

   Araminta looked at him. “I was happy to help take those punks down. Especially after everything you guys did for me.”
   Kid Victory stopped her and asked, “So are you in?”
   Araminta nodded. “I guess I am.”
   Kid Victory put his hands on her shoulder. “You don’t have to feel pressured about it. Its not like we’ll kick you into the street if you say no. We’ll help you find away to have a normal life.”
   “I don’t think I’ll have a normal life,” she admitted to him.
   “Probably not but you can always try.”
   “I think I’ll try at this,” she said.
   “Awesome. But remember-if you decide you can’t do it we’ll understand.”
   “Thank you,” Araminta said.
   “Now go get some rest. You deserve it,” Kid Victory finished before walking away.
   She asked after him, “Should I come up with a superhero name?”
   Victory stopped and turned. “I think Araminta is good enough. It’s unique. Just start thinking costume.”
   “Jessie said her friends making it. Maybe I’ll get a cool symbol like the monster on Elijah’s chest or the dragon on Jessie’s,” Araminta said.
   “That’s not a dragon. Its an Ophiotaurus. A serpent with a bulls head. Its from Greek myth. Its entrails, if burnt, are suppose to grant the power to defeat gods,” he said. He chuckled a little, “Of course the only people who know that are the people who she’s told.”
   Araminta watched Kid Victory walk away for a moment before turning toward the direction of her chosen room. She was beaming. On the flight back Araminta was on cloud nine. They beat the bad guys and her teammates complimented her while they discussed everything that had happened. She listened to Reeds recount of his and Reina’s encounter with Powerhouse and how bad ass Reina was. Sally was rather modest about a brief fight with the Arsonist and said that Kid Victory made short work General Anslem who claimed to run the US operations of the Teiwaz. That ride back to the base-Araminta was filled with such positive adrenaline.
   Now she was back at the base and her body was starting to crash. Araminta made her way to her room and jumped onto the bottom bunk bed. She spread out and felt such joy. She had a bed, a closet, a dresser, and a nightstand. Araminta had eaten better in a week than she had in years. She was learning to throw punches like an action hero. The best part was the people she was surrounded by.
   Jessie was the best. Nice, warm, and the epitome of cool. She had a swagger about her that mesmerized Araminta. When she was Reina Titán there was such presence of power and confidence. Araminta was now burning with the desire to be a warrior much like her. Jessie was a total rockstar.
   Frank was cute. Araminta was not going to lie to herself about that. He was nice and complimented her on her efforts. When Frank told her not to be scared going into a fight and that she would do okay Araminta believed him. So when she did succeed in battle it felt great. Frank was obviously the kind of guy girls swoon over and Araminta hoped her little crush was not too noticeable. She knew little about punk rock but knew she was digging the punk rocker on the team.
   Elijah felt like a big brother looking out for her. He was just as sweet as Frank plus he could cook. Araminta felt guilty for her first reaction to him and wished she could take it back because Elijah was a great person. He had a way about talking that Araminta enjoyed. She also loved the way Elijah acted around Jessie, seeing such joy in his face when she was around. They would be so cute together, Araminta thought.
   Reed was a bit bratty, selfish, and a little distant but Araminta saw a good kid there. Reed was the younger brother of the group. A kid who, like some of them, had survived a terrible tragedy. Reed was a boy with no future until the team and she saw in his eyes that he cared about it. Even if he’d rather play video games than do detective work. Reed liked having people around, just as long as they were not interrupting his game play.
   Then there was Sally. Sally was weird to her at first. Almost detached. It took a little time talking to her, watching her, and listening to Jessie speak about her for Araminta to get it. Sally was tough as nails. You look at her and see an adorable Asian girl but in reality Red Sprite was pure warrior. She was good at what she did and worked with others to help them improve. Their first training session Araminta kept apologizing for her mistakes and Sally did not get angry or frustrated. She worked at Araminta’s paced and complimented her effort and progress.
   Antoine, Kid Victory, what was there to say really? Araminta could only describe him as being cooler than anyone could ever believe. She liked his laugh, his smile, his personality. Plus he was also cute. All the boys were cute to her. As Kid Victory he was so efficient and without an ounce of fear. Antoine was amazing and other words could not grasp that fact well enough.
   Araminta could not wait to meet Tesla and Professor. She imagiend they had to be just as awesome as the others.
   Araminta sat up, got off the bed and into some comfortable pjs. She got under the sheets and thought about it more. Araminta knew there was still road to travel before she could be half as good as Sally, let alone Frank, in a fight. She knew she probably would still be freaking out before every battle. Araminta did not care. She was a superhero. She never considered that an option in her life until now.

#G#

   The next morning the team was at breakfast. Talking, joking, reliving moments from the night before.
   “After this we should go up to the conference room and talk about whats next,” Antoine said.
   “Really? Lets just have a day to chill out,” said Jessie.
   “We get this outta the way now we won’t have to worry about it later.”
   “Antoine, relax. Today, we hang out. Watch some films, maybe go into the city, just have ourselves a marvelous time,” Jessie said.
   “We’ve earned it,” Frank added.
   Elijah raised his drink and said in agreement, “Most definitely.”
   “Help me out Sally?” Antoine asked.
   “Personally I would like to relax. I need to catch up with my reading,” she replied.
   “See,” Jessie said motioning to her partner.
   “At least lets talk about the team name,” Antoine said.
   “Supreme Seven,” Frank said. Everyone looked at him. “No?”
   “There’s eight with the Professor,” Sally said.
   “Plus we might add members sooner or later,” Antoine said.
   “Probably later,” Jessie said.
   “Sooner or later so a number is not the best choice,” Antoine continued.
   “The name needs simplicity. When you say it, it shoots right to the point,” Elijah said.
   “Team Badass,” Reed suggested.
   “Far better than Supreme 7,” Jessie said.
   “I was thinking about that Fantastic 4 team,” Frank said.
   “Those movies are terrible. I can not speak for the comics,” said Elijah.
   “My friend reads comics-does not care too much for them,” Jessie chimed in. “He’s more Justice League and Avengers. Usually X-Men above all else. Went on about a group called the Doom Patrol a few times. Can we use patrol?”
   “I am personally fine with whatever you decide. As long as you are being serious,” Sally said.
   “So we can’t call ourselves the Super Styling & Profiling Patrol?” asked Jessie who was amused by her own joke.
   Sally shot her a look. “No. We can not.”
   “Araminta? Any ideas?” asked Antoine.
   Araminta answered, “I never really paid attention to superheroes before all this. I seen a few movies. I don’t have any cool names. But I think simple like Elijah said is good. Like Guild. Or Faction. Oh oh-the Alliance.”
   “Antoine-this your topic, be topical,” Jessie said.
   “The Guild of Superhumans,” he replied.
   A few of them shook their heads. “Maybe we should revisit this topic at a later date.”
   “We can just steal something. From a band or movie,” Frank said.
   “The Magnificent,” Elijah said.
   “The Guard,” Reed said. He saw their faces, stood up and said, “I’m going to go play games. You can thank me later.”
   The team all looked at each other and Antoine raised his glass of orange juice and said, “To the Guard.”
   Everyone raised their drinks.

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