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You look toward DC again and think about your pod hovering over the National Mall, unseen. You just have to get there.
“Who’s waiting for you,” Kid says.
You think of Jackie.
You take a deep breath before you turn to face her. There’s a bit of anger and bitterness bubbling up just under the surface of your appearance.
That was the saying they taught you in Observation Survival School. Maintain composure when, if ever, you came in contact with Earthlings.
They can be a sensitive lot.
“Her name is Jackie,” you say as you turn from DC and begin following the tracks leading away from the city.
You don’t hear Kid following at first, but soon after you hear a hobbling step and drag.
“Hang on,” she says. “I’m injured, remember?”
She catches up after you slow down.
“Is she your… wife?”
“Marriage is an Earth institution.”
She stutter-steps but doesn’t stop.
“Where are you from?” she says in a voice quiet enough that you realize that she partially understands.
“I’ll get to that if we have time. Tell me where we’re going and how long it will take to get there.”
“Yeah. Yeah, sure,” she says tapping a watch on her wrist. “It should only take thirty minutes or so from here, but we’ll need to make a pit stop on the way.”
“Pit stop?” you say. Slang and uncommon English were never your strong points though you picked some up in school. You never figured you’d ever really need it.
Kid looks at you, and you can see the pieces falling in and out of place at the same time.
“We need to get you some normal clothes. Look at how you’re dressed,” she says gesturing to your uniform. “You look like you’re cosplaying at a Star Wars fancon event at Comic-Con.”
None of that makes any sense, but you surmise that your uniform stands out. You nod to acknowledge that you understand.
“Lead the way.”
The sun is sinking toward the horizon as you begin to open up to her, breaking the rule of maintaining scarcity of knowledge.
“I’m on a five-year observation mission from my homeworld. I was set to begin my trip back in a few days.”
“Holy crap! You’re an alien?”
You smile. “Aren’t we all?”
“No. No, we’re not. Well, unless you’re talking about how none of us are actually native Americans. Our… my people were kind of brought here unwillingly.”
She stops at a dirt path that leads from the tracks to a slightly wooded lot. Beyond that, you can see several apartment buildings. She gives a good look around in all directions before beckoning you to follow.
“So,” she continues. “Do all people on your planet look like you?”
“Like me?” you say as you step into the brush. There isn’t as much smell or the telltale signs of temporary residence as in the other wooded area.
“You know… blackish.”
“I mean, your skin isn’t quite dark as mine, but still brownish. Your locks seem to be a different texture, but similar to my Mom’s, and you have green eyes with blue speckles. So, yeah. Blackish.”
“Kayla, what’s up girl?” The voice startles you and immediately you’re in defensive mode: Fists clenched and instantly aware of every object in your immediate vicinity.
You’ve walked into a clearing just before the main road. The area is littered with old mattresses, tire rims, and broken appliances. It probably served as a make-shift dump for the neighborhood.
Two young men, older than Kid, but much younger than you, have emerged from a path to the right. Both are well built but slender. Their dark skin in contrast to their white, matching t-shirts.
“Dante, Chuck!” Kid says with a smile. She opens her arms and embraces one of them. The other doesn’t take his eyes off of you.
“Who’s this?” he says taking a drag off of his cigarette. Both of them are looking you up and down.
“This is my friend, Soje.”
You turn to look at her. No one, but Jackie has ever called you that, but you maintain. She gives you a wink, so you go with it.
“Nice to meet you,” you say extending your hand.
They look at you, then each other and laugh. The man who gave Kid–Kayla– a hug, stands tall then firmly grips your hand and bows.
“The pleasure is all mine m’lady.”
Kayla smirks and punches him in the shoulder. “Dante, please.”
Chuck breaks out in a laugh between drags of his cigarette. “You crazy, man.” He collects himself with another drag then looks over to Kayla.
“Ain’t she a little old to be your friend?”
“There are all ages in The Resistance.”
Chuck rolls his eyes.
“How many times I gotta tell you,” he says as he drops what’s left of his cigarette and toes it into the ground. “The Resistance,” he says scratching two fingers of each hand at the air “don’t care nothin’ about us. They’re a bunch of super-powered fools draggin’ everybody else into their war with the government. Right, Dante?”
Dante looks over to Kayla. “You know your mom doesn’t want you going to those protests. What if you get hurt?”
“The Resistance is about all of us—everyone who is oppressed and looked down upon,” she says. You see the hurt and passion in her eyes. “If they try to hold them down then they hold us all down.”
You smile at her. She reminds you of the fire you used to have before your training on ProtoTerra.
“Ki—…Kayla,” you say. “We need to go.”
Dante and Chuck reach for the pockets as a warbling tone sounds from something inside them. There’s a ding from Kayla’s watch. She looks at it as they pull phones out of their pockets. Kayla gasps as she reads something.
“Kayla?” Dante says as he turns his phone towards her. You lean in to get a look.
It’s a simple page with a simple message:
Under the heading is a clear image of you and Kayla from the alley. You are delivering a blow to Sergeant Elias while Kayla is standing over the bloodied body of one of the others.
“Kayla Robinson, aka Kid Sensation, and an unnamed accomplice are wanted for the assault and murder of three military agents. The reward goes to anyone with information that leads directly to their apprehension.”
Kayla is visibly shaking. Her mouth struggles to form words. You take her by the shoulders and look her in the eyes.
“Kayla, we have to go. Now!”
There’s a click behind you, and you feel metal pressed into the back of your head.
“Yo, Chuck!” Dante says. “What are you doing?”
“You read the alert. I’m doing my duty as an American citizen. This is easy money, son.”
“Please, Chuck,” Kayla says. “They’re gonna get my Mom. They’re probably headed there now. I gotta save her.”
Chuck doesn’t say anything for a moment. “You’ve been lying to us, Kay,” he said. “You’re Kid Sensation.”
You think about taking him out, but you hold on. Something in your conscious says to wait.
“I couldn’t tell you. I had to protect my family.”
“Protect your family?” Chuck says. You feel increased pressure from the pistol. “We’re your family, too. What about your cousin? Our cousin? Derrick? You could have saved him!”
“What? How? I wasn’t there when he got shot. I’m not psychic, Chuck.”
“Seriously,” Dante says. “Just put the gun down.”
“Yeah,” a voice booms overhead. “Put the gun down.”
Everyone turns to look at once. And at once everyone, including you, takes a step back. Back-lit by the deep orange sunset sky is The Enforcer, Cornelius Bartholomew. His golden buzz-cut stands out against his black combat uniform. The air around you swirls as he descends. The temperature drops ten degrees in a split second.
Chuck turns his gun to Cornelius.
“No!” Kayla screams out.
The end comes quickly for Chuck.
A single power blast from The Enforcer’s fist blows away the weapon and the attached arm past the shoulder socket. Chuck’s body pirouettes as he flies backward into a tree where he crumples to the ground.
Dante runs over to him and falls to his knees beside him.
You put up your hands toward Cornelius and the air crackles as a bright blue shield arcs between you.
“You killed him!” Kayla rages. “You murdered him!” She steps up beside you.
“Stay back, Kayla,” you say keeping your eyes fixed on Cornelius. You’ve seen what he can do in battle.
“There’s the mystery woman,” he says smiling as he approaches. He places a palm out to the shield, and electrical sparks like tiny lightning bolts leap to his hand. “Where are you from, girl?”
“Leave us, Enforcer,” you say with more confidence than you feel.
He raises an eyebrow. “That accent tells me that you are not an American.” He looks at you curiously. “Please tell me you’re here illegally. I would love to put you away even longer than I had planned.”
He turns his attention to Kayla.
“Hello, Kid Sensation. Or should I say, Kayla Robinson of 1325 Thurgood Marshall Drive.”
She gasps and her knees buckle. This makes him laugh.
“Any minute now, your mother and anyone who stands in our way will be in my custody for aiding and abetting a known criminal, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
You think quickly about your choices.
You could try an all-out attack on Cornelius, who though he stands two feet taller and almost double your weight but is slow when it comes to hand-to-hand combat—your specialty.
You could use your powers to use the junk around you to hit him from multiple-angles which could provide enough of a distraction for Kayla and Dante to get away and possibly save her family.
Or, you could lower your shield and turn yourself in. You would employ the negotiating skills you were taught on ProtoTerra. You’d give as little information as possible but open up communication to perhaps build an amicable connection.