Having someone new in charge changed everything. You were forced to get used to how this new person ran things even though you had gotten comfortable with how the old person did it. Kind of reminded Cameron of her foster care days. Those days ended when she got her powers, no one was willing to take her in after, too difficult to deal with a damaged child let alone one with superpowers, and they put her in that place for troubled superpowered youth.
“Ah, Miss Pierce, thank you for coming to my office so quickly,” Agent Camelo said, smiling pleasantly as he sat in Hayes’ chair, in Hayes’ office. That was a red flag if Cameron had ever saw one. “Close the door behind you.” She did, then took a seat in one of the two chairs facing Agent Camelo. That smile never left his face as his eyes looked at her from top to bottom. “You haven’t met my team yet, have you? They came with me to Avocet, since you’re all lacking in firepower here.”
What kind of game was he playing? Of course Cameron hadn’t met any members of his team yet, he had called her to his office a minute after the status update came. “No,” Cameron said. “I haven’t.”
“That’s a shame, but I’m sure you will meet soon enough. I think you might get along with them, Miss Pierce, like yourself some of them are former criminals. You wouldn’t be able to tell, looking at them now but I assure you they were.” He leaned back in the big leather chair Hayes owned. The warmth of his smile never reached his eyes.
“Oh, don’t you worry Agent Camelo, I assure you I’m just as reformed as they are.” Cameron gave him her biggest, brightest smile.
“That’s not what I asked you here to talk about but that’s very nice to hear. I just wanted to know your opinion on your team, so far. You’re likely to have a more unbiased opinion than the others,” Agent Camelo said.
Cameron shrugged with her uninjured shoulder. “They’re pretty cool. I don’t have anything to complain about.”
“Great, that’s great. How’s your arm, by the way? I read in a report you were injured in your fight with Gladwell?”
“I did, and I’m fine.”
“It was Agent Brown’s recommendation that you, Ionic, and Violet Knight were all given time to properly rest and I agree, despite being qualified for being a superhero, all of you are still teenagers. Do you have a problem with that?”
“If you think you can find Gladwell without me, then yeah, no problems here.”
He nodded. “We’ll do fine without your ability. It would be nice though, if you told me more about it and how it works. It’d be useful information for Victory Lad to have once he copies your powers.”
Cameron hated power copies almost as much as she hated power thieves, even if they were on her side. It just didn’t feel fair that they were able to copy what made you special. “Victory Lad is a part of your team?” she asked.
“Well, no, he’s not. I doubt you’ve been told but Victory Lad isn’t part of any official team yet. He moves from team to team, learn something from all the superheroes we have. I don’t just mean powers, of course. He’s recently been assigned to my team for the next while, part of the reason why we were allowed to come here and help with your Gladwell problem,” Agent Camelo said.
“You fight fire with fire so you fight power thief with power copier,” Cameron commented.
Victory Lad was the up and coming superhero. He was one of those ultra powers, superhumans much stronger than their peers, and his ability to copy the powers of any superhuman he spent time with made him very useful, but dangerous. The SAA was grooming him to become the next Champion, the current highest ranking superhero in the country.
Why they let him call himself Victory Lad was a mystery.
“Honestly, he should stay away from that power, it’s hard to control. I haven’t even mastered it yet,” she admitted. “It’s more distracting than helpful, most of the time.” What she didn’t say was how useful it was when used properly. It saved her ass more than once.
Agent Camelo nodded. “Thank you again, for your time Miss Pierce. You may go unless you have something you want to talk to me about.”
“Nope.” She rose from her chair and left before he could change his mind. She was about to go back to her room, enjoy her day off, when her phone beeped the second she reached the elevator. It wasn’t Agent Camelo calling her back to his office, no, it was Allison. Cameron remembered finding the phone numbers of everyone important already programmed into her phone but it was the first time a team member had contacted her.
That was almost never a good sign.
Cameron, please come to my workshop, I’d like to talk to you about weapons.
Boy, Allison sure knew how to get Cameron’s attention. The only way she could make that more appealing to Cameron was if she had half naked men serving them pizza.
She stepped into the elevator, tapped her ID card against a panel, and hit the button to take her to where the workshops were located. Then she got out at her stop, heading straight for a door clearly marked as being Ionic’s workshop. The door opened as she approached it. She walked in and the door automatically closed behind her.
Cameron wasn’t sure what she expected to see but it felt very Allison. Everything was neatly organized, tools were nicely arranged on the walls, each workbench contained only the essential items, no clutter as far as Cameron could tell. Personally, Cameron liked a little mess, made things feel more real, natural. Allison stood behind a table, a partly dismantled Ion drone in front of her and beside it was something that looked kind of like a car engine.
“Thanks for coming, I needed to talk,” Allison said, looking up from the parts on the table and pulling off her gloves. “It won’t make you uncomfortable if I ask about your past?”
“Depends on which part you want to ask about,” Cameron said as she walked up to the table and stood across from Allison.
“Specifically, I want to talk about your time as a thief.”
“Oh, that.” She smiled. “I’m not one to turn down an opportunity to brag, so go ahead, ask away.”
“You stole equipment from all sorts of people, at least some of which had to have a fairly sophisticated tracker, considering you stole from inventors. I’m wondering how you dealt with that.”
That wasn’t what Cameron was expecting but she wasn’t lying before, she loved an opportunity to brag. “I have more than teleporting powers. I’ve also got a perception power and it’s more complicated than just letting me see invisible people. Don’t really know how to describe it but if I concentrate I can see these images that overlap everything. They’re not really images, really, they’re more like… concepts? Or ideas. I use it, look at all the parts and then I can mostly figure out what part does what from their images. I knew a guy who helped me with the technical stuff.”
“Very interesting. How much do you know about inventors, Cameron?”
She shrugged. “You guys build stuff, and those things can do some crazy shit.”
“Well, yes, that’s correct,” Allison said. “But when inventors first started appearing, a lot of effort went in determining whether it was actual science being used, which we would be able to replicate, or if it was a power making it worked, which we wouldn’t be able to be replicate. For the most part, it’s not real science, so when I look at the inventions of other inventors, I’m almost as clueless as anybody else.”
“Okay, I think I get it. You want me to look over something, tell you about it, so you can try and copy it?”
Allison pointed to the engine thing. “That’s from Hoplite, another inventor. It generates forcefields but unlike mine, this doesn’t take as long to start up. It’d be very good for the both of us if you helped me.”
“Wait, what do you mean when you said good for the both of us?”
“To compensate you for your time spent, I’d be willing to do you a favor, make you a weapon or improve your armor or something. You can pick,” Allison said.
Cameron thought about the standard stun gun the SAA gave her, about how it barely affected Gladwell. “Cool,” she said. “Sounds like a good deal to me. When do you want to work on it?”
“Right now would be my preference.”