Part 29

by CM Towns

   It was afternoon at the suite. The Guard was hanging out with the Collingsworth family. Later that night the team would be packed and heading out to the Tuskegee-2 to fly back to base (except Michie who went home yesterday). For now they were staying around so Elijah could have a little more time with his family before being isolated back back at HQ. That and the family wanted to a little more time to get to know Jessie.
   Elijah’s sister Yari was talking with Pearl and Eartha on the couch while Eartha was showing off a little of her powers. Elijah’s brother Joe was seated with Reed and Go at the dinning table playing their handheld games. Elijah’s parents were speaking with Jessie over at the bar in the corner while Elijah himself was standing with Aamil just a little bit away.
   “Concerned your parents won’t approve?” Aamil asked.
   “No. I’m concerned of embarrassing stories,” he replied before asking, “You still upset with the mission?”
   “Yes. We come to find Fliopt on limited information. We had no clue what he wanted until it was too late. His treasures caused much destruction and innocent lives were lost. We might have stopped them and grabbed some of his minions but Fliopt escaped,” Aamil said.
   “Body count is thankfully lower than expected,” Elijah stated.
   “Its never low enough,” Aamil snapped.
   “You’re right but we did good. We worked well with what we knew and stopped those two monsters,” Elijah said.

   “Still does not change that those Manhunters were too powerful for us. It took Reina utilizing the extant of her powers to finish the job on both of them. Makes me feel weak and I do not like that,” Aamil continued.
   “I think all our egos took a hit but to be fair we would have eventually finished off our enemy. We were close to doing it.”
   “Yes, I did not wish to take away the hard work you and others did on that metal beast. It’s just my frustration speaking out.”
   Elijah put a hand on Aamils shoulder and said, “I really have no comforting words because you are right. It has been frustrating. All I can say is, we did our best and saved lives.”
   “Damn you guys are good!” Joe said.
   “Language!” Joe’s mom shouted.
   “So all you do is play video games all day?” Joe asked.
   “I have to train. Training usually sucks. I also have to do tutoring when I get back,” Reed said.
   “Going back to school?” Joe asked and Reed nodded. “That’s terrible. School is the worst thing ever. Homework and teachers who talk down to you because they hate their jobs,” Joe said.
   “Please-if you knew what schools in Japan were like you would be happy with what you’re asked to do here,” Go interjected.
   “I’m not going to school in Japan. I’m going to school here. And school still sucks,” Reed responded.
   “So school in Japan are tougher?” asked Joe.
   “Ranked fifth in the world right now. US slipped to twenty,” Go said.
   “Guess all those boring discussions about education my folks have actually mean something,” Joe said.
   Over at the couches Yari asked Eartha and Pearl, “Do you have siblings?”
   Pearl shook her head no and Eartha answered, “Older brother.”
   “That’s cool. Elijah is the best when he was home. Joe not so much,” Yari said and they girls laughed.
   “Do you have a big house?” Pearl asked.
   “Reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaally big. My room is awesome!” said Yari.
   “So what do you like to do?” asked Eartha.
   “I listen to music. Play soccer. Got a doll collection,” she answered before snapping her fingers and adding, “Play with our pets. We got three big dogs. Dobermans. Rex, Stark, and Scrappy. I hear you guys have a Wolf.”
   “It’s actually Reed’s pet. He found it and wanted to keep him. He just calls him Wolf. One of our teammates, April, has a cat. Its name is Supreme Ruler,” Eartha said.
   “That’s a silly name,”said Yari.
   “It is,” Pearl agreed.
   “So you guys are like really new?” questioned Yari.
   “Yeah-very new. I’ve been living with them for a few weeks. Pearl doesn’t live with us,” Eartha told her.
   “I live with my mom,” Pearl said.
   “Whats the secret base like? Is it fun?” asked Yari.
   Over at the bar Jessie felt uncomfortable with Elijah’s parents. Elijah Jr. was pouring a drink for himself behind the bar while Jessie was sipping from a soda. Robin was seated to Jessie’s side asking many questions along with comments and observations about her work.
   “Is it true you crushed the hand of the former LA Police chief?” Robin asked.
   “I didn’t crush it, I just gave a very firm shake. Not exactly the biggest fan of the LAPD,” Jessie answered.
   “You must be really loved back home.”
   “Depends on who you talk to,” Jessie said before taking a sip of her drink.
   “Elijah was telling us you spend most of your free time watching your wrestling. I didn’t know there was so much there,” Elijah Jr. said.
   “There are lots of independent companies out there. Plus wrestling internationally. Especially Mexico and Japan. There is a lot of wrestling I don’t watch,” said Jessie.
   “How much time does the hero work take up? It seems that we only hear about Reina Titán and Red Sprite a few times a month,” he inquired.
   “We hear about Kid Victory a bit more,” Robin added.
   “Yeah, well, KV tends to patrol more frequently. At least an hour a day most days in certain parts of Kirby City. Or the county. I don’t do nearly that much. Maybe a couple times a week and usually I’m doing it because of some sort of chatter about serious threats or because of more dangerous criminals. The police forces throughout California got lots of funding for new equipment after my debut. The good cops and detectives work hard so I really only deal with the more dangerous enemies. Plus being who we are a lot of criminals know to keep a low profile,” replied Jessie.
   “How is Elijah doing? Not just as a hero but-I mean, how is he doing?” Elijah Jr. asked.
   “Don’t you guys talk all the time?” asked Jessie.
   “Yes but circumstances as they are-it’s good to hear from someone whose close to him right now,” Robin said.
   Jessie looked back over to Elijah who was talking with Aamil and back to his family.
   “He’s always wearing when I see him. He puts on like everything’s well but I can tell he does feel locked up. He gets along with everyone and with the larger group of people now it’ll help. Basically, for his situation, he’s doing better than I think anyone else would. Better than I would. He’s also a damn fine hero,” she answered.
   “Jessie,” said Eartha. Jessie turned around, and Eartha had a package in hand.
   “What’s that?” she asked.
   “There was a knock at the door. This was there and I think it is for you,” Jessie got up and took it.
   The label said SYLIA STINGRAY. Jessie thanked Eartha and excused herself from her conversation with Elijah’s folks. She went to the room she was staying in and closed the door behind her. Jessie powered up to Reina Titán on instinct in case of emergency. She slowly opened it up and found a smaller box inside. She opened it and there was a white stone ring. Reina held it up and wondered.

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