Part 10

by CM Towns

   Reina Titán stood tall in the yellow and black version of her outfit. Behind her was the spider woman of New Mexico and Reina took a quick glance back at her, noting she was hurt. Reina then sized up the robot who was planning its next move. The building behind them was on fire and the cops were closing in.
   The robot aimed its laser but Reina quickly let out one of her iridescent spheres, hit the hand of the robot, blowing it off. Reina Titán rushed in, tackled the bot to the ground and ribbed its chest plate open. Reina hopped off the machine and started to walk off but wires from the inside of the machine gripped onto her. Reina was surprised and looked back as the machine was starting to his feet. Reina ripped the wires off of her and that’s when a glow caught her eyes. A blue pulsating light from the machines chest as its plate started to reform. Reina Titán swooped in, got inside and ripped out the blue jewel. The machine toppled over dead at her feet.
   Reina walked over to the hurt crime fighter and pulled her up, launched into the air and touched down atop a nearby building.
   “That was bad ass,” she said before introducing herself as April.

   “Hey,” Reina said before pulling a kit from her larger pouch. Reina had four pouches. Three small ones on her left for phone, cash, and wire cuffs. One larger on the right for quick first aid. Reina rolled it open and took a vial of liquid and poured it on the cut. April screamed.
   “I thought blasts were suppose to burn, not cut,” April commented.
   Titán did not respond because she had a needle between her teeth and was fiddling with wire. Once she got it into the loop she said, “Depends on the blast and where it hit. This robots blasts were also unnatural.”
   “That’s going to hurt,” April said at the prospect of being stitched up. Reina showed her a small item the size of lipstick and popped the top to expose a needle. She stabbed the wound and put it back.
   “That’ll numb the area.” Jessie then stitched the wound and asked, “You got a place close by?”
   “Yeah, a church-it’s…” April got up and pointed. Reina put the jewel in April’s bag, gripped her tight and flew in that direction.
   Minutes later they were beside a church, making their way through a side entrance and once inside they moved past the dais to a door leading into a back hall. April directed to a room and asked Reina to get the keys out of her bag. April took the keys, opened the door and they made their way inside the small cramped room that was furnished with a bed, a dresser, a small fridge and microwave as well as a restroom.
   There were notebooks laying around and a map posted over the dresser which Reina looked over with its markings before asking, “You got medical tape?”
   “Yeah. Its in the restroom, I’ll get it,” April said.
   “I’ll do that, you stay on the bed.”
   “I’d prefer get it so that I can change.”
   “Just change in here,” Reina Titán directed. She went into the bathroom closing the door behind her. She took a glance-only had a toilet, sink, mirror and cabinet. Reina got the tape and said, “Tell me when you’re comfortable.”
   Reina took out her phone and made a quick call, “Acid Burn, pass the word along to KV, they have robots with magical centers.”
   “Serious? Oh wow… Yes, yes, yes. Anything else?” she asked on the other line.
   “I made contact with the local hero. That’s it really. Anything on the others?”
   “Sprite and her team is in Mexico, staying at a hotel. Not much else from them yet. Kid Victory and Mr. Monster are at base, prepping the fast man about their operation,” she responded.
   “What about the Professor?” asked Reina.
   “Um… Still with personal business. Am I… Not really holding my own?” Acid Burn asked feeling nervous having to hold down the fort by herself.
   “You’re doing fine. It’s just I’d like a semi-decent hacker on tap.”
   “Don’t worry. I’m learning,” she assured Reina Titán.
   “I’m decent!” shouted April.
   “Okay!” Reina said before going back to her phone call, “Keep me up to date.”
   “I will. Be careful,” she replied.
   “Bye,” Reina replied before hanging up and walking out. She saw April seated in jeans and a bra. Her long brown hair revealed to be a wig at her side. The hair underneath was the same shade but short and straight. Her skin tone was a natural light tan which made Reina suspected she might be mixed. She also noted April’s physique and one answer, plus more questions, came to mind. Reina also spotted the cat by April who seemed to be giving her a nasty glare.
   “Nice cat,” commented Reina.
   “Thanks. There’s an interesting story about her,” April said.
   “Lets save it for another time…” Reina started, “How long you been out by yourself?”
   “Almost a year and a half,” April answered.
   “Your parents kicked you out?”
   “Yeah.”
   “Shitty parents. The preachers here know?”
   April held back her surprise at Reina’s question while Reina began wrapping her up with the tape.
   “They do. They accept me. I think more because of what I’ve tried to do. They don’t speak down to me or criticize.”
   “Its always nice to hear about nice Christians or Catholics accepting someone for who they are and not something as trivial as being trans,” Reina said finishing up.
   “Thank you.”
   Reina finished with the tape. “You’re mixed right? White and Hispanic.”
   “Puerto Rican mother. I have to say-you have a keen eye. How’d you figure those out?”
   Titán sat on Aprils bed and answered, “My dads mixed. As for transwoman-a few things gave me hint but mostly the fact you were concerned about me wrapping up plus the content of your cabinet.”
   “You got good detective skills,” complimented April.
   “Not really for criminal work. For trivial stuff maybe,” she replied.
   “I have to say, I’m not a fan of the yellow and black outfit.”
   “When you get a better costume then you can critique.”
   “My outfit it pretty bad,” April agreed.
   “Whats your codename?”
   “I don’t have one. I guess Spider-Woman.”
   “Can’t do that. Comics have one. Or two. Or a dozen-I don’t know.”
   “How’s that matter?”
   “It shows a lack of creative thinking. Besides almost everyone whose taken a famed superhero name has either changed it or was killed in action. Kind of a curse,” Reina told her.
   “Any suggestions?” April asked.
   “Not at this second. Powers magic or science?”
   “Its not magic. Are we going to share origin stories?” inquired April.
   “Not me. I’m sick and tired of telling people my back story. Besides, most the time its not as interesting as people imagined.”
   “I can understand that. I’ve seen a few of your films. You’re an alien, you’re a chosen champion, or a human who survived alien experimentation. My origin is a little more low key. I just got these powers because for a while there was a clinic-well, not a real clinic… Basically they paid cash to test some serums or shots or pills. We-by which I mean homeless, especially kids-did it, stayed over night-sometimes multiple nights,” April said.
   “That’s a dangerous way to make money.”
   “I know but it was safer than other options. I had some weird side effects here and there but nothing at first. One day I got real bad and a few days later I was doing Spider-Man stuff,” April said.
   “What happened to the clinic?”
   “They were shut down by feds. Heard most of the scientists were arrested. The federal agents also took some kids and homeless into custody,” April explained.
   “How have you felt since the powers came to the forefront?”
   “I got some stomach problems. Nothing serious. The back of my hands burn but that’s a result of too much use of my webbing. Dry mouth quite a bit,” April said.
   “You have any family that can take you in?”
   “Maybe but they’re in Chicago or Lewiston, Maine.”
   Reina picked up the white domestic shorthair cat and looked her over before putting her on her lap and stroking the feline. “I’m in town for a few days with a job. Basically I go around and blow up Daga Cartel business’. Beat the shit out of their guys. Make it so they have to rebuild their base here in New Mexico. Some of my partners are going to do the same in Texas. Others are going to show force in Mexico.”
   “You’re going to cut the Cartel down?”
   “Circumstances prevent us from going as far as we’d like to go.”
   “What circumstances?” asked April.
   “Mexico needs a central power, as crappy as that sounds but when no ones being the big bad there’s too many people trying to out evil one another,” Titán explained.
   “That’s why you and Red Sprite let Daga Cartel gobble up most the cartel business?”
   “You do a lot of research on these pricks?”
   “Quite a bit since I started. Can you tell me about Montalvo or Certero?”
   “I can tell you they’re not my priority.”
   “You’re priority is just to damage. Okay, why now?” April was curious.
   “You ask a lot of questions,” Reina stated.
   “I like to know what’s going on.”
   Reina continued, “I need you to tell me everything about the Cartel in New Mexico and then I need your help breaking bones. This isn’t a big bad supervillain battle, this is pure policing work. Go in, take down who we can-damage operations and wait. You okay with that?”
   “Absolutely,” beamed April.

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