Paradox – Chapter 42

Scott gently pulled back as Amira suddenly turned right to enter one of the many clothing stores scattered around Broad Ripple. As another shopper opened the door, he could hear the loud thumping of the radio inside and the overpowering smells assaulted his nasal passages.

“Are you sure you want to do this?” Amira asked as Scott, hidden beneath dark sunglasses and a hat, hesitated at the front door.

Scott hated shopping. His mother employed public relations and marketing specialists that did the shopping for him and his father so they all would compliment each other in and out of uniform. After joining the JTF, when he needed more clothes, he traveled to the storage units that he rented and replaced them. He did not care what he wore as long as it fit. He adjusted the baseball hat he purchased from the teenage boy that lived next door to Amira after she pointed out that he stood out in a crowd.

“Sure,” he said not believing a word. “I promised to go with you and here I am. I’m just not used to doing normal things.”

Amira wrapped her body around his large right arm. Her hand slipped into his as she looked up and smiled. “I know this is hard for you after everything you told me about your childhood, but this is good for you and me. We can’t let fear rule us or those evil people out there win.”

The people trying to kill you or my mother? Scott wondered wisely remaining silent. “This is a therapeutic trip for both of us to move on with our lives.”

Amira glanced at the sidewalk, a hint of sadness creeping over her. Scott knew she was thinking about Jason. He did too almost every night when he woke up in a cold sweat from the nightmares about the knife that almost killed him, that did kill Cortex.

“We both do need this, Amira. C’mon,” Scott said as he opened the door for the smaller speedster.

“Such a gentleman,” she laughed walking in. Her eyes exploded as she stared at all the clothes and choices.

His phone buzzed in his pocket in a pattern he knew. The vibration was set as low as possible so no one but him could hear it. Scott did not want any interruptions so he ignored it..

“Are going to answer that?” Amira asked pointing to his pants pocket.

“Answer what?”

“Your phone that’s buzzing. That ringer is really annoying by the way.”

Scott looked surprised. “You can hear my phone?”

“Well, duh, I just asked about it,” teased Amira. “But either it’s broken or I need to check my hearing. It sounds strange.”

The phone continued to buzz as he ignored it. “No, that’s great. That means your body is starting to adapt to your abilities. Our senses, hearing, eye sight, touch, are much more sensitive than mundanes.” Scott nodded to the shoppers in the stores who blissfully ignored them. “For most of us, this acceptance happens when we first emerge, but you never pushed yourself and hid your talents. This is good progress and will help in training.”

“That’s great, Scott, but aren’t you going to answer your phone?”

Scott shook his head. “Nah, it’s just work.”

“What if it’s important?” Amira asked.

“It’s not. Thorton has Scimitar doing some demo for the visiting Marines. He wanted me there but I’m not interested in that crap. Enhanced criminals need to be handled by Enhanced agents. The military should worry about the Caliphate and leave the police business to the JTF.”

Waves of anxiety flooded over Amira’s face. “The Enhanced online are scared and angry. Some of them think the government wants to wipe us out. Many of them are joining the protestors or worse, they’re talking about forming Enhanced militias.”

Scott squeezed Amira’s hand gently. Although they were both speedsters, he was also a tank and could crush every bone in her body. “That’s just Internet bullshit, Amira,” he lied. He heard reports of the same thing and in some areas in the South, Enhanced were already forming self-defense teams. It was one of the reasons the Marines were asked to get involved. “Things will blow over and eventually the mundanes will learn to accept us like everyone else in the world.”

“I hope so. I’ve already lost so much and I don’t want to lose you too.”

Her voice drifted off as she looked up at the man holding close to his well-muscled body. Amira leaned up to his face, her palms resting on the back of his neck and on his shoulder. Scott leaned forward and closed his eyes.

The phone buzzed again, this time in a rapid pulse. Scott knew it was an emergency contact. Amira pulled away.

“You should probably get that.”

“I told you, I want to spend time with you. The JTF can wait.”

“You can’t ignore the JTF, Scott. While you talk, I’ll go take a look around.”

Scott sighed as Amira walked away and pulled a shirt off the rack. She would not change her mind until he did what she asked. He pressing the answer button and angrily raised the phone to his ear.

“This better be important or I’m going to be pissed,” Scott yelled.

“Justice?” a soft voice asked in-between sniffles. The caller was obviously crying

“Yeah? Who is this?”

“I’m sorry,” the voice apologized. “I didn’t know who else to ask. I need help and command turned me away.”

The hint of familiarity hit Scott. “Trauma? Is that you? What’s wrong? What happened?”

“They are sending Khaleel off on a suicide mission.”