Case File 002: Part 3

by CM Towns

   “Can we get some food. All that lifting has gotten me hungry,” Araminta asked seated in the middle between Jessie and Frank inside the truck. Jessie was at the wheel of the stolen and repainted U-Haul. One of four vehicles now in their garage with the armored SUV, unmarked white van, and Victory cycle.
   “And sweaty,” Jessie pointed out.
   “Let’s see if they got a Taco Bell,” Frank suggested.
   “What’s this city called again?” Araminta questioned pulling out her phone.
   “CARDY COUNTY. Not sure which city… Warren or Toth City I think,” answered Jessie.
   “I think I’ve seen like two people who weren’t white and not a single one dollar Chinese food place. Why couldn’t we be in a place with more kinds of people and food?” Frank asked to which Jessie laughed.

   “Hiding a state of the art compound is rather difficult so we’re stuck here. How about some Arby’s? It’s right ahead,” Jessie recommended.
   They all agreed and Jessie drove into the parking lot. The three exited with Frank putting a beanie over his hair while Jessie took a good look at her surroundings to keep an eye out for anything suspicious and noting the few street cameras nearby. Once inside they ordered their food and once received they found a far corner in the back to eat and talk as privately as possible.
   “You seemed a little aggressive toward our fearless leader this morning,” Frank said.
   “Antoine needs to know when to relax. Believe me, you appreciate your downtime in between crazed costumed maniacs and super Neo-Nazi organizations,” Jessie said.
   Frank added, “Or alien invasions?”
   “We never had a real alien invasion. A few battle cruisers, some intergalactic badass wannabe’s, but we never had a real true to life armada and you know why?” asked Jessie.
   “Why?” Araminta replied to have Jessie continue.
   “Because only an idiot would send dozens of fleets millions of light years away to our little dirtball. That leaves them vulnerable to revolutions and attacks from rebels and outside forces on whatever worlds they run. If those jackanapes, THE ICZER EMPIRE, do try invading in full force then they’ll get an even more rude awakening than last time,” Jessie explained before chowing on her second roast beef sandwich.
   “What if they do send a larger invading party?” wondered Araminta.
   Jessie swallowed and answered, “They will be astounded by our rapid technological advances and the continued rise of superhumans. Of course, we’d have been more ready the last times if the countries weren’t all secretive about their super-awesome designer fighter jets.”
   “I’m sure it’ll be the same way if we do get more alien invaders knocking at our front door,” Frank said before eating some more fries.
   “You and Sally don’t really have as many enemies as Antoine. Is it because eveyone’s scared of you guys?” Araminta asked.
   Jessie laughed. “That’s one reason. Another is location, location. Kirby is a growing county with young business’ and burgeoning enterprises. Also the gangs and mafia outfits in Kirby are small fry compared to Los Angeles or New York or Chicago. Meaning villains can come in and cut a nice piece.”
   “So Kirby is making money and is open for entrepreneurial villains,” Frank said.
   “You want to take control of Cali you have to deal with all the gangs, representatives of all the major mafia organizations, and the certain villains with a foothold in. We also have the highest number of street cameras, the most SHRT crews, plus the state with the largest documented number of advanced weaponry in the US,” Jessie said.
   “How do avoid cameras when you change?” asked Frank.
   “Blindspots. Cameras focus mostly on main streets. Side streets or middle class residential areas. Corners around business’ are usually good blindspots. Parking lots are good too because limited security cameras as they’re more on the first floor and entrance ways plus elevators and the such. The higher floors you go up the fewer cameras around. Upscale neighborhoods are a mixed bag, sometimes they don’t have too many because it messes with the aesthetic. It’s not hard really when you learn to settle into a location,” Jessie said.
   Jessie takes a sip of her drink and continues. “Now, the last reason is that our bad guys think differently. They’re of a different breed than the guys running around facing off against our Black Dynamo. We got cartels, alien wizards, angry stranded alien invaders, and old world evils who pop up. The Cartel doesn’t want to make us come back to Mexico but we collide every once in a while. The few aliens who have footholds in LA prefer to run the bulk of their organizations outside the state. Sometimes a fight breaks out on an isolated island. The big monsters make the front pages.”
   Frank decided to switch topics. “Back at base I meant to ask about hitting up a rally back home.”
   “Protest rally?”
   “Go ahead. Plus it gives you some more time to visit your family since we had to cut the last visit short. You just got to be careful. The resident feds no doubt are keeping tabs on your family,” warned Jessie.
   “I wanted to go suited up,” Frank mentioned.
   “As SubHuman you’ll be sticking out in a crowd,” Araminta said.
   “Hopefully they’d think I was just cosplaying,” he responded with a smirk.
   “Cosplaying as a wanted New York superhero in New York? I’m sure the cops will check you out to be sure,” said Araminta.
   “You should go with him,” suggested Jessie who smiled at Araminta’s widened gaze. “Get to hang out, meet his friends, be good to be out in the world. Plus if the cops show up you two can just jump outta there.”
   “That would be helpful,” he said turning to her.
   “Um-I don’t know…” Araminta said looking at her soda.
   “Just think about it. Have Beastly give you guys a ride out in the Flier. He’s been doing good on that built in simulator,” said Jessie.
   “We robbed those Teiwaz of a lot of stuff,” Araminta said about their new Fliers and other equipment they recently acquired.
   “We should really get the whole team out there for the rally. Its about justice for victims,” Frank proposed.
   “The vast majority of people are scared of the likes of us. Despite all we’ve done,” replied Jessie.
   “Kid Victory might do it,” said Araminta.
   “I’ll ask him when we get back,” Frank said.
   “And make a third wheel out of a date?” teased Jessie making Araminta blush while Frank laughed. Jessie switched topics as to lay off Araminta. “How is your family doing with the media attention?”
   “It’s died down. My sis was having some troubles in school,” he said.
   Jessie nodded. Araminta asked, “She’s being bullied?”
   “A little but her school comes down hard on bullying, which is good. However KIM is tough, I doubt anyone would really get in her face,” he said.
   “You have a sister too, right?” Araminta asked Jessie.
   “Yeah,” Jessie answered before taking a drink of her soda, “Little sister. Very little. You don’t have any siblings, do you?”
   Araminta shook her head unaware Jessie already knew the answer. She continued, “Well you’re part of a big happy family now. Which we should be getting back too. We got to build some furniture.”
   “Could just get Tesla’s robots to do it,” Araminta said.
   “Can’t let his robots do all the work,” Frank said.
   “Exactly,” agreed Jessie. “Antoine and Elijah can do it. We picked it up, drove it back, they build it.”
   “Sounds good to me. I can’t build furniture. I could barley help you guys lift that stuff,” Araminta said.
   “We done?” Jessie asked.
   “Just about,” Frank said.
   Jessie got up and said, “Then lets start the drive back.” With that they tossed their trash and headed back base.