Part 7

by CM Towns

   Inside the Game Room the poker table was populated my Michie, Eartha, Pearl, and April. Michie’s hair had been styled in cornrows by Eartha and she found her new look to be rather amusing. It was not a hairstyle Caucasian girls could really get away with. The group was partly talking about the training, trading stories of adventure and commenting on their teammates. A little hush hush as Reed and Arturo were engaged in a a First Person Shooter game over on the couch and Aamil was playing the pinball machine nearby.
   “A lot of times I just dropped them onto a car or flung them into a wall. They just turn and run after that,” Eartha said.
   “Where were you staying? I imagine the feds were watching your house,” Pearl wondered.
   “Yeah. I just would crash in empty apartments or sneak into empty office buildings. Its Detroit, you can squat in a lot of places. Once I stayed in the attic of a police department for a few days before they even noticed,” she answered.
   There was a smattering of laughs.

   “I hear Kid Victory’s got his own secret lair. Have you ever seen it?” April asked Michie who shook her head no. “And Jessie and Sally don’t have a secret lair?” she continued her inquiries.
   “No. They just find a place away from people and change and go off and save the day,” explained Michie.
   “My secret headquarters is a dingy, narrow cave with a gate on the front with some warning signs I stole to make it look all official,” Pearl divulged.
   “Do all the vigilante’s have secret headquarters?” asked April jokingly.
   “I can’t say for sure but probably. So, Eartha, your powers are cool. Being able to fly and control gravity. How’d it happen?” asked Pearl.
   “Like I said, I’m from Detroit.”
   “One of the most dangerous cities in the US. High rate of unsolved crimes and crimes related to drugs,” April answered.
   Eartha nodded, “Yep, good old Motor City. So I was with my folks at the bank when some assholes came in with some new gear. Shit hit the fan and I got grabbed as a hostage by this prick with a weird getup like a metal vest with wires and lights. He tried clicking something and BOOM! Now I got this ugly scar on my back. Had shrapnel too. The guys machine was some piece a scientist whipped up using alien parts and weird technology but it didn’t work right. The explosion and shrapnel messed my genetics up they said.”
   “Wow,” Michie said.
   “I know, right? She told me that story and I had to look it up. That guy in the vesting died. They never found the people who made the gear,” April added.
   “I doubt they will,” Eartha said.
   “So are you two going back to school?” Michie asked Eartha and April.
   “Yeaaaah-it looks like it. They explained that their using a foster home for cover or some such nonsense. Its going to be me and Arturo. Araminta and Reed are going to get their own apartment or something-pose as brother and sister for a private school. Erica is going to the same school as me but different cover there,” Eartha explained.
   “Probably to avoid the feds from finding too many lookalikes in the same place. Still-that’s too many loose ends,” commented Pearl.
   “Definitely but some of the team actually want to go. Franks looking to get his GED and I’ll probably end up going to a tutor and then doing the same,” April explained.
   “I wish that Tesla guy could just whip up some teacher drone,” said Eartha.
   “Rather have a GED than a high school diploma?” asked April.
   “I rather just not go to school and have to maintain a secret identity. They told me to just give it a chance. My parents liked the idea too. This means of course having to learn a whole back story,” answered Eartha.
   “That sounds so fun. At least as long as its you whose developing most the story,” Michie remarked.
   “No-they are giving me a back story they came up with,” Eartha told her.
   “That’s not fun,” spoke Michie.
   “At least you’ll be getting outta the base everyday. It does kinda make you stir crazy. It’s a drive into the city-not too long but still a hassle so we haven’t really had much time off base,” said April.
   “Yo! Flash!” Eartha shouted to Aamil on his way out, “You going near the kitchen?” Aamil nodded. “Grab me a bottled water. You girls want anything? Make that two! Please?”
   Aamil took a moment before nodding and exiting.
   “You think he’s going to get us those waters?” inquired April.
   “Yeah. He wants to be anti-social, that’s fine, but he knows teammates are teammates. Besides, if he doesn’t he’ll be forced to hear me bitch about it,” Eartha stated.
   “I find it crap he’s in the advanced fighting class when I don’t think he’s really that impressive other than his speed. Franks a better fighter from what I’ve seen,” April said.
   “I talked to Antoine about it and he said that was the main reason but that also Aamil had some training and his form and foot work is better than Franks. Also told me that Elijah leaves himself open a little too much and his leg work is not the best-easy to trip,” Pearl said.
   “I think Jessie just wanted him in her class to spend more time with him,” Michie told them.
   “Those two are real lovey-dovey. Makes me sick,” Pearl admitted.
   “Why?” asked Michie.
   “I don’t know. Guess hetero relationships don’t do much for me.”
   “Well, just remember this chick right here is straight,” Eartha pointed to herself.
   “I forgive you or that,” Pearl responded.
   Aamil came from behind and plopped a pair of water bottles on the table. He turned and walked away.
   “Thank you,” Eartha said before telling the others, “Talk to him like a co-worker and things will be cool.”
   “Maybe, but he needs to get over whatever attitude he has,” April said.
   “Speaking of attitude-Hunter is really full of himself,” Pearl said.
   “Jocks are like that,” Eartha said between sips of water.
   “Football and Baseball, right?” queried Michie.
   “Said he dropped baseball. Time constraints. That was between him talking about how good he was and how all the other sports teams want him,” Pearl answered.
   “Photo mimicry, right? I guess if he’s mimicking sports stars that makes sense. Kind of like cheating,” stated Michie.
   “Means whoever team he’s on right now for basketball has an unfair advantage,” said Pearl.
   “Elijah was a basketball player in high school. Tall guy. Size advantage right there,” April said.
   Michie giggled and when pressed about why she found that amusing she pretended to zip her lips, giving away exactly what she was thinking. ‘Eew’ popped out of Pearls mouth.
   “So what do you two do all day? I know there’s stuff around the base but games and movies get boring quick,” Pearl said.
   “Reading. Pretty much a lot reading. I’m reading black romance books. Aprils been catching up on TV and movies,” Eartha told her.
   “Not just catching up-revisting my favorites. Like Buffy and Xena. Good times,” added April.
   “We keep busy. Plus occasionally we did some fight training. Frank and Elijah usually took charge but it was just exercise really,” continued Eartha.
   “The biggest thing we miss in here is natural sunlight. Every time we go out we have to wear sunglasses,” April added.
   “So what do you do in your free time, Pearl?” April asked.
   “In my limited free time I do some charity work in conjunction with the Cherokee Nation. I don’t watch too much TV or play video games too often-I like catching movies. Between school and vigilantism I don’t get much me time for a lot of things. I did just read a book on the inequality of sentencing in the US. Fascinating and extremely frustrating,” revealed Pearl.
   “Your mom knows what you do right?” April continued to inquire.
   “Yeah. So do some of the people in the tribe, giving me an alibi when I need it. Helping when they can,” Pearl answered.
   “Do you have a weapon-master like Kid Victory, does?” Michie piled on with the questions.
   “Yep. She is a doll,” beamed Pearl.
   “Hey! People!” Jessie walked in sweating with a towel around her neck. She announced, “Big things tomorrow. Schedule absolutely shifted so I suggest everyone get some sleep because we’re meeting in the ops room tomorrow at six-thirty am. Night.”
   “Oh shit-is it one of the case files?” Eartha wondered.
   “I hope so. Training in the field is so much better than regular training. Plus we’ll get to see how good our teammates actually are,” Pearl pointed out with a smirk.