Portal – Chapter 26

The next morning, Trauma arrived at first light, discharged Michael from the infirmary, and walked him back to the recruit barracks.

“They were really freaked out when you went down.” Trauma was filling in the gaps of  the events after the exercise.

“Lady Justice started screaming for the medics. She yelled at Justice to get to the infirmary. When he didn’t move immediately, she was ready to light him up. She was seriously pissed.”

Michael laughed a little. One thing he learned about this group, they do not take no lightly.

“By the time Prescott and Edwards were in the room, Justice was back from the infirmary with orders not to move you. Net was searching medical sites for me as I checked for a pulse and Cortex was trying to figure out what was going on in that head of yours.”

Michael was impressed. During the exercise, it was every Enhanced for himself but when it came time to business, everyone seemed to know what to do. They all had years of experience, some with time in the field with a parent or trainer. They also had the JTF as a network to reach out to other Enhanced. Michael knew he was way behind on the learning curve of his power and understanding the Enhanced culture.

As he opened the door, a blur hit Michael and picked him up. Net was holding him tightly even if he was several inches shorter.

“Damn, man,” Net said excitedly. “Don’t you do that shit again, you hear? Scared the hell out of me when they said you needed a medic. I thought Justice had pulped you.”

“And we wasted training time,” shouted a voice in the back. Justice had been sitting down next to Alaina before she got up, walking towards Michael.

“That you spent with the engineers fixing Hinkle,” teased Net. “I wish I could have filmed that for your fans.”

“Sorry, were you talking to me or was the little girl who is afraid of heights?” responded Justice.

“Everyone, go line up outside for the morning stretching,” Alaina said, trying to diffuse the situation. “Justice, you have your orders. Please tell them Recruit Larson will be there in a few minutes.”

Justice glared at Michael and Lady Justice before turning and slamming the door open hard. The steel door bent slightly.

“Uh oh, TL is on the warpath,” Net said quietly, so only Michael could hear. “ Glad you’re back, brother. Oh, and good luck. You’re going to need it.” Net patted him on the side and ran out the door. Turbulence, Solid Copy and Scimitar also patted him or said hi before leaving. Cortex simply walked by without saying anything or looking at Michael.

“Recruit Larson,” Alaina began. “Welcome back to the team.”

“Thanks, Ala.., sorry, Team Leader Grayson. Glad I’m out of there.”

“If you are to remain with my team, there are some things we are going to make clear.”

Michael studied Alaina, trying to see if she was serious. The shy and quiet woman that he noticed two days ago was replaced by a very serious and assertive soldier.

“I have already had this chat with the rest of the team and with Justice and Net personally. This little war of yours is over. First, he could smear you two across the pavement and not break a sweat. And second, Net was not exaggerating, he has a Tier 1 slot waiting for him. He will be the new face of the JTF. Director Lehrer won’t have a Computer Empath, no matter how good he is, and whatever the hell you are, screw it up.”

“Oh, I’m good at taking a hint, Team Leader Grayson,” Michael replied slowly. “I saw the great Justice in the news last night.”

Lady Justice sighed. “Don’t be a jerk, Larson. I’m trying to help you not get killed or sent to prison.”

“Like you helped when your boyfriend tried to send me to the hospital by running my ass over?”

“I wasn’t there,” she countered.

“Have you changed your callsign yet? You’re still Lady Dickhead, last I heard.” Lady Justice clenched her fists together as she stared back at Michael.

“I didn’t think so. I’ll do what you say to help the team but don’t pretend you are trying to help me.”

“Larson, you don’t understand.” Lady Justice was not sure who she was trying to convince.

“I do, Team Leader. And we’re done talking.”

“Very well,” Lady Justice said sternly, standing tall again.

“Recruit Larson, you are to report to JTF main office immediately for debriefing. Agent Prescott and Agent Edwards are waiting for you.”

Lady Justice turned without looking at Michael and walked out.