Molecular examined the dossier DELPHI had assembled on Royal.
Kylie Bell, aged fifteen. Identifying her had been easy, she’d been arrested during the summer for getting into a fight with a girl at summer camp and beating her. Her history wasn’t an easy read; put for adoption shortly after birth by her teen parents, she had a medical and psychological history several pages long. She’d bounced around foster homes for the first six years of her life before finding stability in the Donati household. Despite being fifteen, she was still in seventh grade. There was no mention of her divergent ability anywhere in her files, she’d managed to keep it a secret.
Kylie sat in her cell, a sound proofed cage of many layers of metal and composites to impede abilities with one size made of many layers of armored glass separated by vacuum. Her costume had been taken away, leaving her in a baggy orange prison jumpsuit. He noticed that her head had an exposed cochlear implant. She was rather small for her age. Her biological dad had been African american while her mother was a second generation Vietnamese immigrant and she displayed a mix of their features. Molecular took note of her abnormal facial structure; small eye opening, an underdeveloped jaw, a thin upper lip, a short upturned nose. He knew what it meant, it was in her medical dossier; Fetal alcohol syndrome. Around her neck was a device, meant to prevent her teleporting friend from snatching her.
“Kylie, do you mind if we talk?” He said, buzzing on the intercom to the room.
“Please don’t call me that… I hate it.”
“Very well. What would you prefer I call you?”
“Ky is good I guess. It’s what I use with my friends.”
He knew that by that, she meant the other rogues.
“Alright, Ky, do you mind if we have a chat?”
“It’s not like I have anything I can do to stop you.”
“If you want me to, I leave you alone. But I’d like to talk about what is going to happen. Can I come in? I trust you won’t use your ability.”
“Okay.” Ky said, shrugging. “You can come in.”
Molecular punched in the combination and opened the door, coming into the near empty room. He leaned against the wall and Ky remained on the bed, knee glued to her chin. He could have talked via the intercom, but it would have sent the wrong image.
“How are they treating you?”
“The food is awful and it’s so tiny. I’m hungry, plus there’s no privacy and they keep referring to me as a girl. I’ve had worse in hospitals...”
“I can get you anything you want to eat, just ask.”
“You mean it?” Ky’s expression changed, becoming less detached. “I want Pasta, preferably fettuccine alfredo, but anything Italian is alright and like a gallon of sweet tea.”
Molecular took out his phone and opened the service app, putting in an order at the cafeteria’s kitchen to be delivered to the cell.
“Can I get my binder back too? They took it away when they made me change. I don’t like being like this.” They said, crossing their arms over their chest.
Molecular left the cell and opened secured locker next to the cell, it contained their personal belongings minus the weapons which had been moved to evidence. He found what looked like a standard undershirt and let his power feel it, scanning for suspicious material or properties, he didn’t find any.
“Is this it?” He asked, going back inside and tossing it at Ky.
“Yes.” Ky hugged the piece of clothing like it was a reassuring presence. “Why are you being so nice to me? Nobody’s nice to me...”
“Because you’ll soon be in court and I want to know you better and understand where you come from before I pass judgement on you. Tell me, how and when did you trigger?”
“My friends talked about how dramatic their trigger was, mine really wasn’t it just sort of happened; Last year, someone I was sort of friend with snubbed me and that was it, it was the last straw I guess and I got the ability to control people. I didn’t use it much after my trigger and never told anyone, the only person who knew, I made her forget.”
“How did you get involved with the Rogues?”
“It was just an accident. I just stumbled on Skedaddle when she teleported into the bathroom I’d taken refuge in after a bad day, she was about to leave but I made her stop. We started talking and that’s just how it went. She was cool with me and I wanted to be her friend.”
“This summer, what happened at summer camp when you got arrested?”
“This other girl I was once friend with started calling me a retard and making fun of me for being a ‘dyke’. I shoved her away, she hit me. I hit back. I was better at it than her. I had to pick trash for two months because of it.”
“We haven’t contacted them yet, but what do you think you parents would think about you being a rogue?”
“They're not my parents, just my foster parents. I don’t know if they like me, they’ve had almost nine years to adopt me but they haven’t. I think they’ve completely given up on me. This would just be more of me embarrassing them.
I don’t really blame them… Who would want me? I’m not smart, I don’t do well at school at all, like I keep being held back in grade. I get angry all the time and get in fights when people annoy me. I don’t do girl things like I’m supposed to. I’m always making them worry by being sick.”
“Do you know what’s waiting for you?”
“Jail, I think.”
“If the Gods are on your side, juvenile detention for a few years until you’re an adult. More likely, you’ll be tried as an adult. They’re charging you with several charges of grand theft, complicity in hijacking, destruction of federal property, more assault and battery than I can count, all aggravated with divergent ability of course. The list goes on. You already have a criminal record and the rest of your files don’t paint a good image for the judge, the chances of a trial going your way are virtually null. Prosecution might even petition for your imprisonment into the international divergent joint detainment facility, the that’s official name for the the Pit. Do you understand what this mean?”
Ky shifted uncomfortably. Being interned into the pit meant one thing: you were no longer human, only a living weapon to be put away until needed, summary execution was the answer to misbehavior.
“I do… But what am I supposed to do?”
“I like to think of myself as a good judge of character, I’ve read your files and now that I’ve talked with you I don’t think you’re a bad person Ky.
You’ve been dealt a nasty hand and you’ve fallen in with some bad people. But there’s potential in you, more than you know about. In twenty to forty hours, you should face a judge, you’ll be given the option of pleading guilty or not guilty. Since you’re underage I can game the system, give you another chance, but you must not contest the charges, plead guilty, don’t go to trial or the plea deal will not pass.”
“What will happen if I do that? Do I go home?”
“No. Instead, you’ll be inducted into the guardians program. You’ll be trained, you’ll be rehabilitated and in a few months, you’ll be living on the legal side of the fence. We can help you, but you have to let us help you.”
“What about my power? Everyone will have figured out the flaw in it, just like you did. I can’t go back with the Rogues even if I was free… It’s just another part of me that’s broken.”
“Don’t worry about that, we have a way of fixing that. Think about what I said, joining the Guardians won’t be easy or pleasant, but it’s your only option to be pardoned.”
Forty-six hours later, Ky sat in a small chamber, surrounded by monitors that showed the courtroom. With a controller power, they weren’t allowed anywhere near the judges and instead video conferenced the hearing.
In the last two days, Molecular had been nice to them, checking up on them regularly and getting Ky food, even the guards had stopped using ‘she’ when talking about them.
Maybe he’s legit nice. They thought. He can help me fix things.
Only Skedaddle had ever been good like that with Ky...
Ky’s heart sank. Taking the offer meant betraying Skedaddle and becoming her enemy, refusing it meant destroying their own life.
“Kylie Bell.” The judge called out. They had lost track of the court. “Do you understand the charges levied against you?”
“How do you plead?”
There was a pause and the judge repeated herself.
“I… I plead guilty. To everything.”