“Oh, shit,” I whispered as he rounded on me with the gun. If I could talk him down, maybe even into giving me the gun, this would all be a lot easier.
“Get the fuck on the floor, bitch!” he shouted, pointing the gun at me. I slowly knelt down and laid flat on the floor. Even down here, the man was still in my line of sight. The desk had only come up a little higher than my waist and when I looked up, he was visible from the chest up. I didn’t want to kill him, of course not, but I definitely had a clear shot at the hand that was holding the gun. It wasn’t so close to Luca anymore and if I could just make this one chance shot…
I flexed my hand, quietly retrieving the handgun from my right arm. While my hands were shaking, I knew I could do this. If I missed, she’d probably die. It all came down to me. I took a deep breath, steadied my hands against each other, and fired.
It was a perfect shot. I honestly couldn’t have hoped for anything better. The man screamed shrilly as the bullet did a quick through and through on his hand, and he dropped both his gun and the receptionist. In an instant, I was back up on my feet and vaulting my body over the desk. He continued to flail around like a madman, giving me a decent punch to the stomach with his good hand and a gooey slap across the face with his bloody fist. I had to knock him out before he killed me.
I ducked swiftly as he took another swing at me and grabbed the belt loop on his pants. Pulling him forward as I pushed my fist upwards, he walked right into the punch and crumpled into a ball on the floor. Luca, the receptionist, sat on the ground beside him, coughing and holding her throat. “Are you alright?” I asked her, crouching down to offer my hand to help her up. She nodded and groaned at the movement, pressing a hand firmly to her chest as she tried to take deep breaths. “That’s good.” I glanced back at the crushed rat-faced man, but he had disappeared. Instantly, I jumped back into attack mode as the door at the other end of the room slid open. I couldn’t believe who walked out from behind.
The POWER group. They were all so amazing, so heroic, so…powerful, that it was like they were gods among men; luckily for them, the press treated them the exact same way. The five of them strode towards me and I marveled at each of them as Luca opened a small door in the circle desk to let me out.
Psychico was the leader. He was tall and dignified with classic baby blue eyes and a blond cowlick; in his purple and gold robes, he reminded me vaguely of an Egyptian king transported to our time. His mental powers were legendary, and people said that he could make you imagine things so that you didn’t know what reality was anymore. He was the original POWER and had helped to found the rest of the POWER group. Unlike the others in the original group, though, he and his arch-nemesis, Eminence, continued to circle each other like sharks; neither dared to kill the other. They’d fallen into a nice rhythm of fighting, despite the advanced age that both had to be achieving by this point. According to the press, Psychico was a hero if there ever was one. He was the first and the standard by which all other Heroes were judged nowadays.
Walking slightly behind Psychico was his second-in-command, The Prophet. More commonly known to the world as simply Prophet, his powers were almost as transparent as his looks. His ability to look into the future was a useful tool for when he fought against his nemesis, Counterlight. Despite his vision being obscured by the black cloth he wore over his eyes, he seemed to be perfectly comfortable walking with the rest of the group, even running a hand through his brown hair. Like Psychico, Prophet was one of the media industry’s standard Hero settings. He’d joined the group almost immediately after the first POWER slot had opened after the originals had gone.
Following up behind the two was Tempus Manum. No one knew that much about him and the press was as mystified as the rest of the world. He’d only joined the group a little more than two years prior, but he’d already risen to the position of third in command; despite this, after Psychico either died or retired, Tempus Manum was the Hero who was slated to take over the POWER group. All I knew about him was that he could control time, but I didn’t know to what extent his powers reached. No one had ever seen him fight, either, because whenever he had to fight his nemesis, The Ninja, he simply walked into another time and returned only after he had succeeded in beating him. He wore a black hoodie, left unzippered over a green button up and black slacks. A gold and green pendant hung on a chain around his neck, pulsing softly with light. The media loved to devour Tempus Manum, although I’d never heard of him publishing a reaction; there were constant claims about his real identity, about how he got his powers, and women occasionally tried to argue that he was the father of their babies. I wasn’t sure how I felt about him, if only because he never let people see him fight.
Behind the men were the women, the fourth and fifth in command. Fourth was SnowSword, the scandalous ice queen of Everground. Recently, it had been made public knowledge that her nemesis, FeverFlame, was actually her twin sister; no one knew how this got out, but there were constant rumors flying about SnowSword. If there was ever a scandal story, everyone instantly knew that it was SnowSword. Every time anyone looked at the cover of any Hero/Villain gossip magazine, there was SnowSword’s face, emblazoned on the front for whatever trouble she’d managed to get herself into this time. Her costume was a lot simpler than the others, just a skin tight swimsuit in white and blue with snowflake embroidered tights encompassing her legs. Her light blond hair swung in a loose braid down her back and her diamond-esque mask did nothing to hide her features, nor her bright blue eyes. At her hip sat the hilt of a sword; if SnowSword laid even a finger on the metal, it would instantly grow into a sharp and unbreakable saber of ice.
Last in line was Energia. As the youngest POWER, she’d grown up with the group as Serpentia’s Sidekick. She’d joined about seven years ago, but had only become an official POWER four years ago, when Serpentia retired. Her blasts of electricity were famous for blowing up reporters’ cameras and video equipment. Of all the POWER group members, Energia definitely had the worst attitude. While SnowSword attracted scandal, Energia attracted true trouble. Rumor had it that she’d gone to jail for a year back before she was a Sidekick and one time, after a particularly rude encounter with a reporter, she’d been sued. She caught a lot of undeserved flak, I guess, because she was the first openly gay POWER group member, but she did do a lot to attract trouble for herself. She and her nemesis, Mace, had never gotten along, even to a more extreme degree than the others; Energia often fought hard and dirty in their public battles. For some reason that no one knew, Energia liked to keep her long brown hair free while she was fighting; it stayed smooth and untangled thanks to the static electricity that coursed through.