When the Chips Are Down 1.3

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From the moment they met to them entering the warehouse, Ionic had only spoken when necessary, always being quick and to the point. It wasn’t just her appearance that was robotic. Yet, when she talked to the people who worked at the warehouse, she transformed into Mother Teresa. Even with a voice modifier altering her tone and adding a mechanical edge to it, she spoke gently and coaxed information out of them that SAA agents hadn’t been able to get. It made Cameron wonder if it was all her or if some gadget was the reason for her success. Maybe it was because they recognized her as a superhero, someone who went out every night to protect the public from monsters. Superheroes were loved, worshiped. 

Sickening, really.

Despite that, they still didn’t have much to go on. Some confirmed the story that the Detective was here, one of them saw which direction she went after she was done with her meeting. Nothing as convenient as a license plate number, though. Of course, no one seemed to expect anything less from the infamous Detective.

Those little metal spheres of Ionic’s were waiting for them when they ventured outside the warehouse. She put them back into a pouch on her belt. “Well, boss, seems like we’ve hit a dead-end,” Cameron said, as they walked over to where they parked their motorcycles. “So, do we call it a day?” If this entire outing was just going to be them running in circles, she’d rather quit now. She hated wasting her time. Maybe that was the real purpose in using this mission for Cameron’s test, to see how well she dealt with the boring aspects of the job.

“No. Giving up easily isn’t a good trait to have.”

Cameron shrugged, before hopping onto her motorcycle. “I like to think of it as knowing when to cut my losses and run.”

“It seems to be a pattern with you.” Ionic mounted her own motorcycle.

That comment caught Cameron off guard. It made sense for Ionic to know about her past, especially considering her supposed position as the highest ranking superhero in the city, and Ionic was definitely the kind of person who would read a person’s entire file before meeting them. Still, she didn’t like it. It was easier to put everything behind you when people didn’t bring it up all the time, like Agent Brown had a habit of doing.

“And it’s worked out great so far.” Cameron grinned, before realizing Ionic couldn’t see it because of the helmet. Shit, that was starting to get annoying. After they were done here, she needed to go have a chat with the PR team, get them to make her a mask that didn’t cover her mouth. “Okay, if we’re not heading on home, where are we going then? We don’t have any leads, last time I checked, unless those floating ball things of yours found something.”

“I like to call them Ion drones, but yes, you’re correct in saying we don’t have any leads. That doesn’t mean we can’t get one. Think for a second Teleporter, how did we find out about the Detective in the first place?”

“Criminal contacts? Didn’t agents already talk to all of theirs? None of them wanted to give up anything on the Detective.”

“Yes, but we’re not going to use any sanctioned SAA informant. I happen to have connections of my own, separate from the SAA. We can go talk to them.”

“Huh. Is that allowed?”

Ionic shrugged. “It’s a grey area, admittedly. It’s frowned upon but not against the rules, Agent Hayes accepts it’s better than the alternative of not getting any information at all.” She gripped the handles of her motorcycle. “Let’s not waste anymore time.” She drove off, and Cameron followed, close behind.

It was a very familiar area they were heading to, Cameron spent the last couple of years there.

Everyone knew the True Gods were a powerful and very large organization but few people truly knew how big they were. Most major cities in North America had a branch of the True Gods in it, pushing their agenda of superhuman superiority. They tended to be very upfront and in your face about their message and goal. Then, there were the other type, groups who pretended they didn’t fall under the True Gods umbrella, but secretly worked toward the same future. Superhumans in charge, ruling over the normals. No surprise why so many powers joined the True Gods. She had joined one of the subtle groups, not knowing what they were at first. She had stayed, not because she believed in their mission but because their leader, Creed, had earned her loyalty.

There had been so few who had.

The area Ionic seemed to be leading her to was basically in the heart of Creed’s territory. It was just a coincidence, Ionic and everyone else at the SAA weren’t aware she was working with Creed, they thought she was some runaway that resorted to stealing to get by. Not too far from the truth.

They stopped in front of a bar, the Wrench, and then Cameron realized how Ionic gained her contacts. The Wrench was known for being the place to get superdrugs, drugs made by inventors. A lot of other inventors liked to hang out there too, peddling their inventions. Some of them shared their inventions with each other. Ionic probably gave them something and got into their good graces.

People gave them wary looks when they entered. There were only a handful of them, it was still pretty early for drinking, but no one looked like they were thinking of confronting them.

Ionic went straight for a door labeled storage. She pulled a key out of a pouch on her belt and unlocked the door, revealing a staircase leading to a very dark basement.

“Nice and gloomy. Seems like your kind of place,” Cameron muttered. “Where’s the light switch?”

“There isn’t one, and you’re not coming with me. Stay here, I’ll be back in a minute,” Ionic said, before she stepped into the darkness and down the stairs.

Cameron sighed as she closed the door. Watching Ionic talk with a bunch of minor supervillains would have been far more exciting than leaning against the wall, waiting until she returned. Her eyes drifted over to the counter, the bartender was staring at the TV, enjoying some show that featured a young blonde woman in a bikini. Would he give her a drink if she asked for one? It wasn’t like he could ask her for ID, secret identity and all. Better question would be whether she could get and finish the drink before Ionic returned.

The answer appeared to be no, because Ionic emerged not even a minute later.

“Well?” Cameron asked, stepping away from the wall.

Ionic shook her head. “They didn’t know anything. Let’s go back, I don’t think we’ll be finding anything today, or tomorrow.”

“What happened to the whole ‘giving up easily isn’t a good trait to have’?” she said, dryly.

Cameron would have bet Ionic was frowning under her helmet. “We’re not giving up easily. The SAA asked around, I’ve asked around, and contacting any of your old colleagues goes against the terms of your probation. For now, we’re out of leads.”

Even if Cameron could, she wouldn’t waste her time getting in touch with old friends to track down the Detective. She liked what the Detective stood for, showing big, powerful groups like the SAA or even the True Gods that they weren’t untouchable, that someone could and would find and expose their dirty little secrets. Reveal what they really were behind the carefully crafted image.

“Let’s go then,” Cameron said.

All in all, it was a twenty five minute drive from the Wrench to HQ. She didn’t consider it home yet but it was certainly nicer than some of the other places she had been forced to live in. Once the motorcycles were safely returned to the special garage for superheroes, they used the elevator to get to the fourth floor. Ionic was silent as ever until they reached their floor. “You can return to your room now, don’t forget to write up a report.”

“Sure thing, boss.” Cameron saluted her as she walked away, toward the other elevator. Besides the report she now had to write about her boring day, there was a ton of homework she still had to do. She spent a lot of the three months with the SAA working to catch up so she could be in the same grade as the rest of her peers. It wasn’t as hard as it could have been, Creed had forced her to spend at least two hours every day with a tutor, learning math and other subjects, so she hadn’t been completely behind. Now that she was caught up, she had to do even more work to keep her grades respectable. Part of her probation.

Neither was something she was excited to do.

Cameron laid on her bed for a while, staring up at the ceiling, trying to take a nap. It was always hard for her to fall asleep, or stay asleep.

Something had been bugging her since Ionic came up out of the basement. She met those guys before, Creed had brought her along once when he came to them to talk about how they were conducting their business and other stuff. Creed said they liked to stay well informed on what was going on in the city. They weren’t all that loyal to Creed either. If someone came around, asking them for information, they’d give it as long as they received something in return. Acquiring cash to give to them wouldn’t have been hard for Ionic. She had been willing to give up right after talking to them too, that just didn’t jibe with her personality and what she said before.

What was the point in lying, though? It was reasonable, she supposed, if they still didn’t completely trust her.

That really piqued her curiosity.

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2 thoughts on “When the Chips Are Down 1.3

  1. “accepts it’s better than” -> Accepts that it’s better. Ionic does not seem like one to omit a word like that.

    “waste anymore time” -> “Anymore” does not work in this situation. Only use “anymore” when you could use “any longer.” For example: “I’m not going to eat pizza anymore” is okay, but “I’m not going to eat anymore pizza” is not. Use two words here: “any more.”

    “heading to, Cameron spent” -> Two issues. First, that comma should be a period. Second, tense issue. “Cameron had spent…”

    “coincidence, Ionic and” -> Period or a semicolon here.

    “with Creed, they thought” -> Split here. Comma doesn’t work, needs to be a full stop.

    “and then Cameron realized” -> “then” is unnecessary here. The actions of arriving and realizing can and should be simultaneous.

    “a very dark basement” -> Bland description. First off, “very” is bad because it just tries to make everything bigger without much success. Just use a word that’s bigger and you won’t need the intensifier. Like “gloomy.” That’s a much more atmospheric word than “very dark.”

    “consider it home yet but it was certainly” -> Need a comma here after “yet.” Two separate clauses, needs some kind of separation.

    “special garage for superheroes,” -> You don’t need to specify that it’s special, We already know this from earlier.

    “to your room now, don’t forget to” -> Split at the comma. Two clauses and no conjunction = no commas allowed.

    “it could have been, Creed had forced” -> Split, same as above.

    “a tutor, learning math and other subjects, so she” -> Remove both of these commas. They are unnecessary.

    “Neither was something she was excited to do.” -> Does this really need its own paragraph? Is it really that important?

    “That really piqued her curiosity” -> Did it now? Do we have any evidence of this? This here is an example of what I like to call “This makes me angry,” Where an emotion is simply told to the reader and not actually shown. What I would do is add some internal dialog along the lines of What is Ionic up to?

    Just a note, don’t worry too much about all these issues. Fix them, yeah, but remember that anyone who’s writing without an editor is going to miss things- That’s why me, Syphax, and Psycho Gecko have been proofreading each other’s stuff. You seem to have a really good grasp on character personality, you just need to be a bit more descriptive sometimes.

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