Truth. Justice. Minesweeper.

Monday, July 11, 2005

"Okay, well if we have to get to her first, let's try the school," I said to Thunderhead.

He nodded toward the donut shop. "Go on in and ask somebody where it is," he said.

"Or," I said, holding up a candy bar wrapper with the school's address printed on it, "we could just go down the street."

"Ah, yes. Very good."

We pulled out.

"Let me do the talking when we get there," Thunderhead said.

"Do the talking?" I said. "You can do the whole thing. I'm gonna wait in the car."

"Scared of something?"

"A few things, yeah. The Professionals, for one. Fountain, for another. A dispute between you and the girl, for a third. I've got a book here, I'll be fine."

We arrived at the high school. I parked in the visitor's spot, pulled out my book, and started reading, as Thunderhead climbed out of the car and approached the main entrance with his tricorder or whatever it is. Looking back on it, I suppose I should have been keeping watch for anybody else going into the school, or at least paying attention to what was going on around me in some way. But for some reason I had decided that Thunderhead was on his own this time.

A few minutes later there was a rumble from the school. The car shook.

"Uh-oh," I said, and put the book down. I started the car up, just in case, opened the door and stood up between the door and the car, looking around. Keyring was hovering over the school roof in his Famous Reciprocating Jetpack, and I could see Icecap, Fantastic Man and some other guy out of Keyring's field of vision at the other end of the parking lot.

Another shockwave hit, and I stumbled. Shadow-Falcon and the girl, whatever her name is, barged out a nearby side door and ran for it. Shadow-Falcon took to the air, but kept circling over her to provide cover. Keyring swooped down after them.

Icecap and Fantastic Man took off from the other end of the school, with the other guy riding on the back of the Icycle, to intercept Keyring. I looked around for a hole to crawl into; if all these guys were getting into a fight I didn't want any part of it.

Margay and Sugarbear, looking kind of beat up, came out the same door Shadow-Falcon had, glanced around, and followed everybody else. Would it be wrong to leave without Thunderhead?

Thunderhead was the last one out. He didn't look damaged, but his old screwed-up coat was more crumpled than usual. I saw him just before two other guys showed up, flying in from up and down the street, firing energy beams into the midst of the Defense Posse.

I called Thunderhead over, but he ignored me, and joined the fight. It was pretty much a free-for-all now, with the girl at the center. On the ground, Thunderhead and the guy I don't know from the Defense Posse were fighting Margay and Sugarbear. In the air was a dogfight between Icecap, Fantastic Man and Shadow-Falcon on the one hand, and Keyring and the two new guys on the other.

The girl, meanwhile, was getting irritated. She started pointing at the various heroes and villains around her, and as she pointed at them, they collapsed to the ground.

That was when I noticed two things. Almost simultaneously.

One was that Fountain was walking up the street, idly shaking up a couple of cans.

Two was that one of the new flying guys, currently shooting fire at Icecap, was, in fact, Surefire.

"Surefire!" I yelled, and then said to myself, "Whatever you do, don't yell or do anything to attract attention."

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