There was a circle of disdain and fear around all of us. They had distanced themselves enough to be out of reach but they had still clearly formed an impressive mob. If I was in their shoes, I’d have done exactly the same thing. Incontinents are dangerous. We are dangerous.
“Lets go,” I said to everyone. We walked out as they pierced us with their eyes. I looked over to Maxine. She wasn’t taking it well at all.
We saw Derek in the car park outside the motel. He’d caught up with the robbers and he’d frozen them just like his parents at his house. One drew his gun over and over. The one who had grabbed the cashier was turning around, with her over his shoulder.. The one holding the bags of loot was still running.
We all half jogged half walked over to Derek. He turned to see us and began to speak when we reached him and my power turned him to normal again.
“Look, I know thi-”
Maxine struck him hard in the face. He fell right on his back.
“Holy shit, you knocked him out!” yelped Ellen in surprise.
Maxine kicked Derek in the stomach. He began coughing.
“Why the fuck would you do that!?” she screamed. Another kick, this time to the crotch. I squirmed internally. Micheal gave a small grunt.
“What the fuck is wrong with you!?”
Micheal grabbed Maxine and pulled her off Derek, who was clearly trying not to throw up. I didn’t move. If anything, I wanted to kick Derek myself. He’d fucked everything up for us, after all. Maxine struggled relentlessly against Micheal’s hold.
“Max, calm down,” said Micheal. “This isn’t worth it.”
“Let go of me Micheal! This fucker is only causing problems!” Maxine screamed at everyone, tears welling up. “First Ricky gets caught in Norfolk, and now this!” Ellen slapped Maxine hard across the face.
“Shut up.” she ordered.
Several seconds passed. Maxine finally broke down in tears, no longer struggling to break free. She stopped after five minutes.
Ellen was the first to break the silence. “We should just go to Virginia City.”
Maxine picked herself up. “I’m not going,” she said softly.
“I’m not going, Ellen. Why should I?” It was clear the toll was too much for her. Her powers, Ricky, the mall, the motel… it all culminated in her. “Why the fuck should I go and do something I never really wanted to do?”
I couldn’t respond. This whole revenge plan was poorly thought out, by both me and Micheal. Ellen was the first to try and convince her otherwise.
“You want to spend the rest of your life locked up?”
Maxine only gave a curious glance at Ellen in response.
“We’re all going to be locked up regardless of anything,” she explained, shrugging. “It’s the law.”
“I don’t fucking care anymore!” yelled Maxine as she turned and ran for Larry’s truck that we had stolen. I quickly recalled we had forgotten to take the keys with us. That, and she was about to leave my range.
“Shit,” I muttered to myself, running for Maxine. Micheal and Ellen reacted too slowly and a glow shot out of nowhere from behind. Maxine reached the door and was about to open it when I tackled her to the floor. She punched the side of my head as I held onto her stomach.
“Stop it,” I said while she pounded me in my temple with her fist. She hit me one last time and I grabbed for her arm with my left hand, missing entirely. She struggled free.
“Fuck off Ry-” she yelled before a look of shock came across her face. “Fuck.”
I got up and grabbed her by the arm. She pointed behind me to where I guessed Ellen and Micheal still stood. I turned around and saw them.
Alliance and Queen ware behind me. Queen tossed a pair of handcuffs at the ground in front of us. “Put them on.”
Maxine picked them up instantly, and then hesitated. I just looked at them, almost reaching.
“Put them on.”
Maxine clicked the cuffs around her wrists. I tried my hardest to refuse, but a deep feeling of dread was building up within me. I reached again, slowly, and picked up the second pair.
“Put them on, Ryan”
If I don’t put these cuffs on, she’ll kill me. I snapped the handcuffs around my wrists and suddenly relaxed. Queen’s power is the most unnerving thing I’ve experienced.
I looked over to Ellen, Derek and Micheal, squinting to get the glow out of my eyes. They’d been caught too.
We’d all been thrown into a convoy of vans. Me and Maxine in one, Derek and Micheal in another and Ellen all by her self.
There were two rather well masked guards in each van holding funny looking guns, and from what I could guess from our situation, a hero from the National Heroes Network sat on the bench the opposite side of us. Our van had the grace of Alliance with us. I turned to look at where the driver’s compartment was and noticed the LCD monitor embedded on the wall. I could see our reflection in it.
Both I and Maxine looked like shit. Her face was red from crying, her shirt dirty from falling over and punching Derek in the face and her denim skirt was both ripped and covered in white paint. I was both covered in dirt and tired.
“Hey, you know you might not get locked up,” said Ricky as both of him took off their riot masks.
Ricky was both the faceless goons. Maxine shot a look of surprise.
“What the fuck,” she exclaimed with shock.
I looked at Alliance. He smiled.
“You can tell them, Plural,” he said to Ricky. No, not Ricky. Apparently he’s called Plural now. They are called Plurals? Clones are weird.
Both Plurals looked at me and Maxine. “You should know the Incontinent Detainment and Analysis Act only covers the procedures of what will have to happen when someone gets powers they can’t control,” said both Plurals simultaneously. “After that, what happens is essentially up to the National Heroes Network.”
Maxine didn’t say a thing. She didn’t need to. This is what we all needed to hear.
Alliance crashed the celebrations early.
“That’s if you are not deemed dangerous,” he said. “If any of you are deemed a passive threat there is the NHN Containment City.”
I could feel Maxine’s heart shatter. The City. Even I heard of the stories. The only place in the universe with true power nullification. I thought about my own powers for a second. Maybe I’m immune, or I have a similar power as to the Mayor of Containment City…
“But first, you’ll have to be evaluated,” Alliance stated, breaking my train of thought. “We’ll be going to Casen City HQ for that.”
I looked at Maxine again. I’d been paying a lot of attention to her after Norfolk. She’d taken a lot on her and to be truthful, I’d not be surprised if she was sent to the City. She probably thought it was all but guaranteed to be her fate.
“What if one of our powers is bad, but not that bad?” I asked while gesturing.
Alliance thought for a moment. “That’s not my place to decide, but I’ll put in a good word.”
The rest of the trip to Casen City was silent.
As everyone got out of all of the vans in the convoy, we looked at the National Heroes Network HQ. It was big, imposing, had a front made almost entirely of glass with two statues. Alliance, Queen, six Plurals and a final cape I could not remember led us through the doors of the building. Me, Micheal, Ellen, Maxine and Derek were all walked through the main lobby, which had a sizable population of civilians and Grunts working for the NHN everywhere. Some were in a gift shop, some were at reception. Government sponsorship get you places, I thought to myself.
Civilians saw us still cuffed as we walked to the other end of the lobby and a few whispers managed to creep into my ears.
“Aren’t those kids from the video?” said one voice of curiosity.
“Can the heroes handle them if they go berserk again?” muttered one voice of fake concern.
We were walked downstairs to a temporary holding area. Probably the jail cells many villains spent their final days in before being moved to the City, Lotus Island or the Basin. We were given a cell each. There weren’t any other occupants.
“You’ll sleep here for the night,” said Alliance to us all. “We’ll do the analysis in the morning.”
I looked around. The cell was lit, but not blindingly so. Just enough light that we’d see. There was a bed with a pile of clothes on top. I walked over and picked them up. Cheap prison clothes, dyed an ugly shade of grey. There was a small desk nailed to the floor and a monitor embedded on the wall. A shower was in the corner.
I shoved the clothes onto the floor and lay in the bed. I needed the sleep.