Cortex had finally worked up the courage to ask Amira to hold his hand. She gladly accepted while she introduced him to Scimitar’s family and friends. He could tell she appreciated having familiar faces nearby, many of these people were regulars in her father’s restaurant, but something was bothering her. He could use his powers to find out but he did not have the control or experience of Jury. Amira would likely know he was poking around and that would be the last date he got from her. He was also forbidden to use powers at the celebration per the Director’s orders. No, he would have to do this the old-fashioned way and ask her when they had a moment alone together. Right now, too many people were congratulating the recruits and wishing them well in their futures with the JTF.
The two men talking near the shadows caught Cortex’s attention. He recognized Michael immediately. He was taller than all the other recruits except Justice, and he was too busy with his fans and the media. The other man was as tall as Michael but more muscular. Together, they almost looked like a team of Enhanced from the Golden Age.
But then Cortex recognized the other man. It was Judge Ronald Thompson, one of the most feared mundanes in the entire Enhanced community. He had always wanted to meet the man who was unshakeable, even when he faced some of the worst killers in his courtroom.
“Amira, do you mind if I say hi to someone,” Cortex said to his date.
“Sure,” Amira replied quickly. She was happy and knew he would always protect her. She smiled at Jason and followed him, hand-in-hand, as they walked towards the two men talking.
“What the hell was that?” Net asked sarcastically. Amira’s scream had alerted most of the team who converged on Michael and Cortex.
Scimitar stepped forward with fire in his eyes. He glanced at Cortex but his hatred was burning towards Michael. He had ruined his relationship with Trauma for months and now he was doing the same thing to Cortex and Amira.
“What did you do to her, Larson,” demanded Scimitar as he shoved Michael.
Vengeance is coming, the voice said.
Yeah, whatever, Michael replied annoyed.
“What is your problem, Scimitar?” Michael growled as he instinctively got in a fighting posture. He knew Scimitar was skilled in hand-to-hand combat.
Cortex put his hands up between Scimitar and Michael. “He didn’t do anything. Relax,” he relayed trying to follow his own advice.
“You are the problem, Larson,” Scimitar shouted angrily. “All you have done is tear this team apart!”
Net rushed Scimitar, grabbing his collar and pulling the taller Enhanced down several inches so they were face to face. This would make a much better target, he thought, as he cocked back his fist.
“What are you idiots doing?” asked Archangel angrily.
Net let go of Scimitar as the recruits looked over at their team leader, her eyes sparkling with electricity. There may have been a ban on using powers tonight, but Archangel obviously would not hesitate to use hers on anyone on the team that got out of line. Justice stood next to her pounding his fists with a smile on his face as Turbulence and Solid Copy looked on with confusion. Several camera flashes went off as the press realized that something was happening between the recruits. Bravo company agents had immediately jumped into action and started pushing the crowds away.
“Just say the word, team leader,” Justice said, emphasizing her title with sarcasm, “and I’ll clean this mess up.” Archangel waved her hand for him to stop. Net gave him the middle finger.
“Little punk ass,” Justice mumbled. Net smiled and blew a kiss.
“Why did Amira scream and run off?” Archangel demanded, glaring at Cortex to Michael. Scimitar nodded accusingly at Michael.
Cortex looked at Archangel with panic in his eyes. He just hoped that the others next to her did not pick up on it.
“I don’t know,” Cortex lied. “I think she was nervous about meeting everyone and it became too much.”
Alaina! She knows. Amira was there when Vengeance killed that mundane.
“Bullshit,” screamed Scimitar, “Something happened to her. I’ve known her for a long time. What did you do, Larson?”
What!? Alaina retorted.
I saw it in her mind when she panicked. Russell and his friend tried to rape her, but when Vengeance appeared, they attacked him.
“I don’t know what you think I did to you, Scimitar,” Michael pleaded, “but I didn’t say anything before she flipped out.”
Those assholes got what they deserved, Alaina admitted.
Jason agreed but that did not fix the problem. Jury and Nightmare will find out. I have to get to her first.
“Stop it,” Archangel said loudly pointing at Net, Michael, and Scimitar, “before you all embarrass us any further.”
Where did she go? Alaina asked.
Home. She’s running home like she did after the attack.
“We will spread out and find her. Search everywhere,” Archangel ordered. “While we search in the park, Cortex, check the parking lot. Ask if anyone saw her leave.” She was risking her future if the JTF found out the truth. The class would be split up and they would all get recycled.
Get to her house immediately. She can’t have a single memory of it or we are all screwed.
Cloak always enjoyed the thrill of the chase. As a child, he had enjoyed hunting moose and other large game with his grandfather in Russia’s vast wilderness but that could not compare to the urban jungle. From the first time he hunted down a police informant for a gang he joined and eventually took over after his Reveal, to stalking a politician through the streets of London that his employer wanted dead, there was just a rush in hunting two-legged prey.
After the failed assassination attempt on Judge Thompson, Cloak mingled with the crowd to look for another opportunity while Dagger continued the search for Maze. When Judge Thompson met with the Enhanced their employer was so interested in, Cloak decided to see what was going on. He almost fled when the mentalist, Cortex, got closer, but he was intrigued by the young woman with him. Her body posture and defensive behavior were tell-tale signs of trouble. When she fled, her mind opened up and spilled everything. She knew dangerous secrets and people like his employer killed for them.
He was ecstatic. There was nothing more exciting than taking down another Enhanced trophy.
“Dagger, get the car. We need to go see a speedster.”