Part 11

by CM Towns

   Los Mochis, one of the municipio’s in Sinaloa, is the location where the Guard has set up for the night. Through a contact of Reina Titán and Red Sprite’s, they were put up at a nice sized suite with a room and a spacious living area and kitchen. White walls, comforting hum of AC, and the sound of channel clicking on the big screen as Reed scanned his options. He was seated on the sofa and not at all worried, unlike Araminta who was pacing back and forth. Sally had told Araminta to keep an ear out for trouble.
   Araminta walked nervously with her phone held tightly in her hands. Sally and Frank went to go pick up some dinner and a few more items. They had been gone almost forty five minutes but it felt longer for Araminta. It did not help that she was also very tired for the trip. First the flight over in the Tuskegee-2 and then the long drive in the van. The family sized fan was designed to look inconspicuous. It was equipped with a large cannon that popped out from the inside. There were also mini-missile launchers from the front and, from what she understood, weapons in the back. The front end had a bullbar for battering purposes that was made of alien metal. That was the one thing people did notice as they drove through the city. That and the fact Frank, with his mohawk, stood out.
   “You want to sit down?” Reed asked.
   Araminta nodded, sat down next to Reed, and her left leg nervously shook. “They’ve been gone a while,” Araminta said.

   “Text them,” Reed suggested. Araminta did just that. She stared at her cell waiting for the answer. “Why are you so shaky?”
   “We’re in enemy territory and two of our members are out there, by themselves,” she stated wide eyed, irked at how Reed seemed unconcerned for the situation they were in.
   “No ones attacked us yet and both of us can escape or fight no problem. Frank and Sally are getting stuff. Sally! She could probably burn this city to the ground if she really felt like it,” Reed responded as he settled on a Spanish language Van Damme film.
   “How are you so damn calm all the time?”
   “Life’s like a video game. When you’re good, you don’t sweat the the low ranked baddies.”
   “Life is not like a video game. You die and that’s it.”
   “Araminta-you are starting to bother me.”
   “I’m just nervous okay? And your analogy was stupid,” said Araminta.
   “You’re stupid.”
   Araminta stuck her tongue out at him when the cell buzzed. She read the text. She had a breath of relief.
   “They’re almost back,” she said.
   “Good. I’m hungry.”
   “You’re always hungry.”
   “So is everyone on the team. Sally explained-super humans consume more food especially after the use of their powers.”
   “You didn’t use your powers today.”
   Reed turned to look at her and said, “Okay, so I’m always hungry. You got a problem with that?”
   “You’re the one with problems,” Araminta shot back.
   “Your problem is your face!”
   Several minutes later Sally unlocked the door and upon entering saw Araminta pinning Reed to the floor. She looked up and smile, “We were wrestling.”
   “Get it off of me!” Reed shouted. Araminta smacked his head for that.
   Sally ignored them as she brought in the food. Behind her was Frank with some groceries. He closed the door and said, “Got beat by a girl. No shame in that?”
   “Shut up!” is Reeds response which made Frank laugh.
   “What you do, pipsqueak?” inquired Frank.
   “Shut up and give me food,” Reed said salivating looking at the bags, and taking in the scent.
   “Hold on a sec-” Frank started grabbing paper plates and napkins, “Okay, never mind,” Frank then said as he saw Reed with a taco in his mouth.
   “Frank, I need you to go to the parking lot. Pretend you forgot something. There was a man down there, standing by his silver Porsche. Just look it over, call, and let me know if you think he’s acting weird. He seemed too curious about us leaving and coming in,” Sally said.
   “Think he’s bad news?” asked Frank.
   “No, but I’d rather be sure.”
   Frank saluted and head to the door. “I’ll be back. Don’t touch my burrito.” He aimed his pointer and middle finger toward Reed and turned back to point to his eyes with the same two fingers.
   Sally turned her attention to the others as Frank left, Reed already half way done with another taco. “I trust that-other than the wrestling match-nothing happened,” said Sally.
   “There’s nothing good to watch on TV. I should have brought my system,” said Reed.
   “You have your computer with your games,” Sally reminded him.
   “Guess I’ll play Earthbound.”
   “Were there any problems on your side?” Araminta asked putting her food on a paper plate.
   “Odd looks towards Frank.”
   “Not you?”
   “I have a Japanese name and Mexico has a history of Japanese immigrants. The fact I speak perfect Spanish-the Mexican equivalent-makes me a minor curiosity,” Sally detailed.
   Araminta took a seat alongside Reed at the small table beside the counter in the kitchen, started eating her food and Sally joined them.
   “I got a call from our intelligence officer. Reina has informed us of robots being powered by magic. We have to be careful but with Huntsman we should have little problem,” Sally said.
   “You think we you can take these magic robots in a fight?” asked Reed.
   “Reina was not very detailed in her report-a common issue. However if she felt they were very dangerous she would have been far graver in passing along her message. So I believe I should have little problem burning their metal with my red magic,” answered Sally.
   “Okay, good. What else with her?” Reed asked.
   “Reina met up with the local hero. I have little details outside of that but could call directly. I trust Reina to formulate a plan. No…” Sally thought and then corrected herself, “I trust Reina to hurt a lot of people and leave a lot of damage in her wake.”
   “What of Kid Victory and Beastly and the new people?” inquired Araminta.
   “Only one of the new prospects was available. The speedster. The girl had other pressing matters,” replied Sally.
   “What girl?” asked Reed.
   “A vigilante known as Kestrel. Operated first out of Oklahoma and then Eastern Tennessee area,” answered Sally.
   “How many new teammates are we going to get? A lot? They’re not going to be taking up my game time I hope,” Reed said.
   “We have not discussed it but in light of rumors that there is a number of individuals who pose a serious threat to the free world-as well as the always worrisome prospect of another invasion armada we decided to build ranks as well as we could handle. Some would live with us-or rather you. Others as reservists,” Sally answered.
   “Jessie didn’t like that idea?” asked Araminta.
   “Neither of us wants to expand rank so fast. We would have rather taken it slowly, focusing on the development of this group. Plans change,” she said.
   “So tomorrow how do we move around without anyone noticing?” asked Araminta.
   “The van. It has a feature to switch from its green to black. Plus all our vehicles are fixed with a rotating license plates,” she answered.
   “I didn’t know that.”
   “The color change is an illegal, and costly, tool. So remember to pick up any loose cash and jewels you see,” Sally said.
   “We get to beat up the bad guys, take their money, and gain experience points?” Reed asked rhetorically. He looked over to Araminta and said, “Told you life was a video game.”