Chapter Nine: Page 7Mature

“You’ve got guts, Stryker,” said Psychico, flipping through the packet and tossing onto the counter of the desk with a loud thump that startled Luca for a second.  “I like that in a woman.  You may have the proper potential to do this job.  Tempus Manum…”  He motioned with two fingers that the Hero was to come forward.  “Why don’t we start training her?  I did recall Eminence mentioning that they might have a possible candidate for the EVILS.”

“Sir, with all due respect,” said Tempus Manum, glancing at me and raising an eyebrow over his simple black mask, “but are you sure about this?  All she did was shoot a gun and punch the mental construct.”

“Did I ask for your opinion?” asked Psychico, frowning at him.  “Or, I’m sorry, are you the leader of the POWER group?  No, you’re not.  I am.  What I say goes and I say that we should start training her as a candidate.  Do it now, Temp.”

“Fine,” Tempus Manum grumbled.  “Do you want me to put her through the usual training for potentials?”

“Let’s give her the works,” Psychico said after a moment of thought.  “She’ll have to use one of the off-site housing modules, though.  There’s no more room in the building.  And let her have a Sidekick.  If she wants one.”

“Are you kidding me?” asked SnowSword, punching me in the arm and glaring at Psychico.  “I’ve been asking you for a Sidekick for forever.  Really, I need one and you’re going to give it to the new girl?  To Stryke?”  The colloquialism at the end of her sentence had me taken aback.  I was already accepted into their tightly knit group, it seemed.  “I mean, honestly.  What does a girl have to do?”

“The only reason we’re making this exception is because the new EVILS candidate has a Sidekick as well.  And we all know that if the nemesis has a Sidekick, then we get one.  So when FeverFlame decides to grow up and get a partner, you’ll get one, too.”  He started to walk away, but turned back to her.  “But don’t go asking your sister to get a Sidekick so you can have one.  They’re really not a good idea.  Half the time, they die in the first six months and when they don’t die, they develop complexes…deeply disturbing complexes.”

“Excuse me, who the fuck are you calling a complex?” asked Energia.  She placed her hand on her chest in mock horror, making Luca giggle.  “That’s cold, even for you, Psych.”

“I won’t hear anymore,” said Psychico.  He waved his hands around widely.  “Everyone get back to your day.”  Almost immediately, the other POWER group members dispersed and I was left alone in the lobby…with Tempus Manum, who was regarding me with a look that could only be described as pure contempt.

What a joy.

The End

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