Truth. Justice. Minesweeper.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Maybe it'll be better if I just type all this out.

I drove Greyghost and Cassie out to the particle accelerator lab this evening. His information suggested that Scorch's raid would be between 8 and 9 o'clock. So I parked nearby, while Greyghost skulked around by the entrance Scorch and his henchmen were supposed to be using, and Cassie prepared to put the hammer down on any getaway plans. The place was deserted; no other parked cars at all, and no people walking around.

Twenty minutes later a car pulled up in a parking lot on the other side of the building. Three guys got out, one of them obviously Scorch, and ran to Greyghost's entrance. I could see Scorch doing something fiery to the lock, and they were inside pretty quickly. Greyghost followed a moment later. Meanwhile, Cassie swooped up and fired a couple of silver bolts at the empty getaway car.

She landed next to me. "Their car doors are shut sealed," she reported. "I'm supposed to follow Greyghost in in a minute, but I think I'll eye around first and see if I can figure Scorch's other way out." And took off again.

I got out of the car and sat on the hood. I had a book in one hand--God knows how long this was going to take--and a SuperSoaker next to me in case Scorch broke through the perimeter. I could see Cassie zooming around the lab.

As far as I could tell, the plan was for Greyghost to shadow Scorch and the boys until they got to this one particular chamber inside where there was higher security. They'd be delayed there trying to get through the next lock, and Greyghost could nab them there without them ever touching anything really valuable. Plus Cassie would be arriving via their only escape route so they were screwed that way too.

Cassie landed by the car and said, "Didn't see anything. I'm gonna head in now," but before she could take off again the lab blew up. Heat and grit threw me back against the windshield of the car and Cassie sprawled across the asphalt. Flames shot from a big hole in the side of the building, and two guys ran out and took off in different directions. Behind them, Scorch flew out of the hole with some kind of apparatus strapped to his back, and made himself scarce.

I rolled off the car in Cassie's direction, and the two of us helped each other to our feet. "I've gotta get Greyghost out of there!" she said, but I hung on to her arm.

"Are you crazy? There's no way he lived through that!" It was really a huge explosion, and there were still serious flames shooting out of the hole in the wall.

"Gotta try anyway," she said, pulling at my arm. "Come on, Dennis, let go."

"You'll get killed in there!"

She looked at me. "If I want to be a superhero, those are the risks I have to take."

Without thinking I said, "Well, I don't want you to be a superhero, so--" and stopped. And we looked at each other.

She removed my hand from her arm, gently, and said, "I thought you understood."

Then she struck like a lightning bolt into the heart of the fire.

I sat down on the hood of the car. To kill time I called 911 and told them about the explosion.

Probably Cassie was only in there for about a minute, but it seemed like much longer. And when she flew out, she was dangling Greyghost below her; he was holding on to her hands and therefore obviously in good shape. I ran over to them.

"You were right," he said to her. "Good analysis. Where's Scorch?"

"Took off that way," I said, pointing.

"I'm on it," Cassie said, and blasted off again.

Greyghost and I went back to the office. He seemed okay, but had pretty obviously had enough for the night. On the way back, we discussed what had gone wrong. First, most of the security was wide open in front of Scorch, so he must have had some kind of inside man. This allowed him to get farther and faster than Greyghost was expecting. Second, that doohickey he stole did something to boost his powers to the point where he could make his own exits to any building he was in, and therefore didn't have to worry about an escape route. So Cassie was right about a couple of things in a pretty short time there.

Cassie showed up at the office a couple of hours later.

"Get him?" I asked.

She nodded, and waved her hand dismissively. "Dennis... How could you say that? That you don't want me to be a superhero?"

I sighed. "I've always been leery of the whole superhero thing. You know that."

"I've heard you say stuff, but... I thought you were just, you know. Devil's advocating."

I shook my head. "And it's dangerous. I don't want you to get hurt or anything."

"So you basically meant it, what you said." She sat down on the desk.

I nodded, and she nodded too.

"Being a superhero is what I want to do. I've always wanted it, and I want it more than anything else. And I can't be with someone who doesn't support it," she said. Her goggles were up on her forehead.

"I support you! I'm not telling you not to do it or anything! You can be anything you want and I'll support you!"

She shook her head. "It's not enough. I mean wholehearted support."


She stood up. "I've really thought about this, Dennis. I love you, but it won't work." And headed for the elevator. She stopped, and pulled the necklace I gave her out from around her neck. "Can I... do you mind if I keep this?"

I have to admit I have no idea what I said there, but the necklace isn't here in front of me, so she must still have it.

I'm done typing. It isn't better.
Aaw! I'm so sorry, Dennis! Much sympathy.
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