Reboot 5.1/1.1

Author’s Note: So, this need a little bit of an introduction before you read this update. The beginning of Knave has always made me cringe because of how terrible it is in a lot of respects and it’s hard to build a serial on a weak foundation. I had planned to rewrite it but reading it over again, it needs something more than a rewrite to fix. Which brings us to the title, Reboot. This is essentially a reboot but I’m not quite sure if I want to start all over again.

The next arc will basically be a rebooted version of Knave, if you and I both prefer this version to the original, then it’ll become the ‘canon’ version and I’ll continue this version and we’ll all quietly forget the other one exists. If this new version doesn’t work out, we’ll pretend this arc happens in an alternate universe and quietly go back to the version of Cameron and pal you’re already familiar with.

Very sorry for the suddenness of this but I think it’s necessary and perfect timing, story-wise, with the end of the arc and the introduction of alternate universes. Your feedback will be especially appreciated, now more than ever.

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It was too nice of a day to spend it chasing after supervillains.

Cameron stood on the rooftop of UltimateTech Industries’ corporate headquarters, the tallest building in Avocet. She was so close to the edge a strong enough gust might send her falling to her death.

It did give her a very nice view of the ongoing chase happening down below. A bright red blur sped through the empty streets. In the air following the blur’s trail was a ship, a tiny bird-like thing, a sphere in the center, two wings sticking out of it, and a sharp, pointed beak on the front. You’d think something so stupid looking might at least be fast to make up for it but the ship wasn’t even close to catching up to the blur, and Cameron was being charitable here.

“Point Blank, do you have eyes on the target?” Agent Hayes said, speaking on comms.

He was the boss, the Man, the agent in charge of coordinating Avocet’s superheroes. Her boss.

She tapped the side of her helmet three times with her first two fingers. “Yeah, I see him,” she said. “You’re sucking really hard right now Ionic.”

Ionic, the pilot of the ship, didn’t bother to reply.

“Can you take him out?” Agent Hayes questioned, harsh and demanding.

Her eyes tracked the blur in spite of the speed it moved at. It was pretty easy to do once she had time to get a feel for how fast it was going then she could predict where it would be fairly accurately. It came with her intuitive knowledge of an object’s position, as long as she could see it with her own eyes.

“If I can’t, we’re kind of fucked aren’t we?”

“That’s not an answer.”

Cameron smirked, hidden by the helmet she wore, and he wouldn’t be able to see it anyway, sitting in his office at the base, watching and listening.

She drew her laser gun from its holster. There was no scope attached. With her thumb, she turned the dial on the side to three. That would be enough power to hurt their little blur without killing him even if she got him in the head but it would do some damage.

She took aim.

“I’ll give it a shot,” Cameron said.

No one reacted to her stellar pun, not even a small chuckle or an acknowledgement. Geez, what was the point of being a superhero if no one appreciated a good joke?

If she wanted to, Cameron was pretty damn sure she could knock him off his ride, stopping him dead in his tracks. She didn’t want to.

Cameron pulled the trigger and a laser beam faster than the human eye could see came out of the barrel. The blur spun in place before righting itself and going on its merry way, at about half the speed. Still too fast for Ionic in her ship to compete with.

The blur slid out of the area they had blocked off, escaping into traffic.

It was too dangerous for them to try and capture him now. Forcing him to stop by hitting the other wheel of his motorcycle would send him crashing into another vehicle and at the speed he was going, it wouldn’t bode well for whoever was in the car. They would be the ones who got blamed too. As dangerous as it might seem, a motorcycle driving down the streets faster than some jets, its driver took care to not damage property or cause any harm at all.

He was still breaking the law and people wanted him caught and arrested but they would be quick to turn on their superpowered civil servants.

“Damn,” Cameron said.

“Ionic, Point Blank, come back to base. Go immediately to the debriefing room, the rest of the team will be waiting for you there,” Agent Hayes ordered, sounding tired.

“Roger,”Ionic replied and Cameron saw her ship turn and fly in the opposite direction. They had worked together for long enough now for Ionic to know Cameron never wanted a ride back unless she physically was unable to get there on her own. Ships were great and all but they took too long to get where they were going for Cameron’s liking.

From where she stood, Cameron could practically see everything if she looked hard enough, including the people down on the streets going about their business. It took her a second to spot the SAA, short for Superhuman Affairs Agency, base. It was situated downtown, surrounded by shops and restaurants with superhero themes. It was a tourist hotspot, the entire city was.

She teleported, appearing on top of the base in an instant. There was a helipad on the roof for ships and other flying vehicles to safely land on and a door leading down to the rest of the building.

She hopped off the pad and walked to the door. The tiny LED light beside it turned from red to green as she approached. Her costume automatically sent a signal to the door to unlock it or something. Ionic was the main science person, not her.

It’d take Ionic a couple of minutes to get here. She would have teleported Ionic and the ship straight to base and save them all time if her power worked on other superhumans.

Cameron strolled down the stairs and to the debriefing room. The top floors of the building were reserved for superheroes, lower level agents weren’t allowed up here for security reasons. Some of them had secret identities to protect.

The debriefing room consisted of a long rectangular table, far more chairs than there were superheroes in the city, a big screen TV on the wall playing the news, and potted plants in every corner. Agent Hayes sat at one end, silent, glaring at the TV across from him. Not all of Cameron’s teammates were here, they were rarely all gathered together. If there was no need for them to be here, they didn’t come.

Other than Agent Hayes, Tyler and Kate were here, sitting on opposite sides of the table, both of them surrounded by empty chairs. Tyler was a precog, he had told Agent Hayes their speedy friend would be taking another ride around town today and Agent Hayes had decided today was the perfect time to try and take him in. Kate was the team’s other science person, she had helped Ionic build the ship.

They were in civvies. They didn’t need costumes, considering they both weren’t field agents.

Cameron sat down beside Kate and took off her helmet. She rested her feet on the table and leaned back in the chair. Agent Hayes was too distracted by other things to yell at her.

They waited in silence.

Ionic came in and claimed the seat on the other end of the table.

“That was horrible,” Agent Hayes said, shaking his head. “This was our second attempt at capturing one of them and we failed again. From what we can tell so far, the Speed Fiends are just a bunch of thrill seekers. A gang of stupid teenagers and we fail. All we needed to do was capture one and convince them to tell us who their leader is, the one using his power to make them move so fast.”

We’re kind of a gang of stupid teenagers,” Cameron said.

Avocet’s superhero team was made up of almost exclusively teenagers. Their adult members hadn’t been as lucky as they were. Well, it wasn’t luck, exactly. Each generation of superhumans were more powerful than the last. The older members simply were as strong as they were.

“We’ll do better next time, sir,” Ionic said, her voice was altered by her helmet, making it sound more mechanical, more robot than human. “We’ll upgrade the ship.”

“I have some ideas of what we can do to improve,” Kate chimed in.

Agent Hayes sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. “That’s fine. You’re all dismissed, don’t forget to write up your reports.”

Ionic was the first person out the door. In a rush to finish her report and get back to working on the ship, no doubt. Kate followed. It wasn’t easy trying to keep up with Ionic’s work ethic. The girl literally had no life outside of superheroing.

Tyler and Agent Hayes were still sitting when Cameron left.

Tyler hardly ever talked to anyone on the team but he and Agent Hayes got along swimmingly, she assumed from all the time they seemed to spend in each other’s company.

Agent Hayes was desperate for a win. All the deaths on his team looked terrible on his record and she bet that if he didn’t shape up soon he would have to go looking for a new job. It was hard to score a win when their opponents, the Speed Fiends excepted, were so well organized while they had never bounced back from the events that led to the death of their older, more experienced members. Cameron hadn’t been a superhero back then but some of the others had and they talked about it maybe once or twice in the entire time Cameron had been with the SAA. It was a touchy subject for them.

Avocet had two major villain groups, the Automatons and Creed’s organization. It didn’t have a name for whatever reason. The Automatons and Creed were peaceful, as far as criminals went, and stopped other villains from setting up shop here. They were basically matched when it came to strength so the city was equally divided in half. Their team wasn’t good enough to take out either one at this point and they weren’t a big enough problem to call in backup from other cities.

Cameron went to her room, located on the same floor as the debriefing room. It was decently sized, mostly undecorated, and furnished with nothing but a bed, a nightstand, and a mannequin for her to hang her costume up on. At one point, during her early days of being a superhero, Cameron had lived in this room but now it served the purpose it was supposed to, she took naps here sometimes if she was dead tired after training or a mission and stored her costume and weapons here.

She changed into some clothes she had left in the closet.

Other than the report and mandatory training sessions, Cameron was free to do whatever she wanted with her time unless called upon to do a mission. Very rarely did superheroes go on patrol because the chances of actually stumbling on a crime worthy of their powers was pretty damn low. The police could handle muggings and getting cats out of trees. Superheroes only tended to go on patrol to let the public see them out and about, so they felt safe and protected.

Her car was parked in a special section of the garage, only superheroes or high level agents were allowed access. It had a secret tunnel that led to a parking garage down the street so heroes could enter and leave the building without having their identities compromised.

It was kind of a pain in the ass for Cameron. It added an extra five minutes whenever Cameron was coming or going.

It probably meant she was going to be late in meeting up with her friend, Ian.

Of course he didn’t have to attend debriefings.

They had scheduled this ahead of time, she was going to meet with him at this cheap burger joint on the other side of town. Ian was strapped for cash most of the time and he definitely wouldn’t be able to afford anything too expensive now that she damaged his motorcycle with her laser gun earlier.

Cameron smirked. Ian was going to be pissed.

And the glare he gave her as she slid into the other side of the booth confirmed her suspicions.

“That’s the last time I ever do you any favors,” he huffed, running a hand through his dark, messy curls.

Cameron was still smirking. “Had to make it look good, you know? Don’t want them to start thinking I suck ass.”

“Yeah, yeah, I know,” Ian said. “You’ve whined about what happens if they do before. Can we go back to talking about the motorcycle?

She rolled her eyes. “I’ll pay for it, but first, I’m going to need another favor from you.”

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Home 2.4

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Picking up the phone now, with Tom and Agent Brown standing right next to her, wasn’t an option. So she waited until they got back to HQ and she headed to her room, hoping Creed left a message or something.

He did.

It was a short message, giving her a progress report of his search of the city. His subordinates found a couple of places that Gladwell might be hiding in, though they didn’t venture inside to find out for sure, afraid she’d spot them and kill them. Creed didn’t want to start a conflict between his organization and Gladwell, and he’d be forced to if Gladwell killed any of his men. They were still looking for more possible hideouts, he estimated he’d narrow it down to two or three by tomorrow evening. She had been hoping he would somehow manage to get it done by tonight but tomorrow wasn’t bad. Ian could stay out of trouble for that long.

The extra time did give her a chance to figure out the little details of her plan, like how she was going to get the SAA to come investigate. Initiating a big fight that would cause a ton of property damage didn’t seem like a good idea and it was always a pain in the ass for everyone involved.

Or she could just not be an idiot and forward the information to the SAA. Right, why didn’t she think about that earlier? If Agent Hayes knew Gladwell was in town from his precog, he would be more inclined to believe and act on it. If he didn’t, Cameron could always go ahead with her current plan. Cameron liked her challenges but there were limits, stuff she wouldn’t even consider. Messing with Gladwell wasn’t past her limits but it was pretty damn close, too close for anyone’s comfort.

That was a problem for tomorrow, when she received the info.

For now, Cameron was hungry. The heroes’ floor had its own kitchen, shared by everyone who had access to it. The fridge was almost always fully stocked with only a few items clearly marked as belonging to someone. After meeting Tom earlier today, she now knew T.H was him, which left A.N. Cameron was betting A.N was Ionic. She tossed a steak TV dinner into the microwave and sat down on the kitchen counter as she waited.

“Sit in a chair, not the counter.”

She looked up from the bird game she was playing on her phone. “Ionic?”

“Or Allison Nakamura, I’ll respond to either.”

True to Agent Brown’s word, Ionic or Allison, was young, fourteen or fifteen at the most. Her long dark hair was tied in a ponytail and from the sweat and clothes she wore, she probably just came from the gym. A few inches shorter than Cameron but today wasn’t a special occasion; Allison worked out often and had the muscles to prove it.

“Hmm.” She tapped her finger against her chin as she thought. “I think I’m going to call you A, I when in costume.”

Allison shook her head, unamused. “AI. Funny.”

“I thought so.” She grinned. The microwave beeped. She hopped off the counter and popped open the microwave to retrieve her dinner. Allison rummaged through the fridge, pulling out ingredients for her own dinner. Athletic, smart, and knew how to cook, Allison had it all, it seemed. Cameron grabbed a fork and was careful to grip the edges of the box, so she wouldn’t burn her fingers. “See you later.”

“Tomorrow,” Allison said before Cameron could head to her room. “We’ll be seeing each other tomorrow, during the training session we have scheduled.”

Training session tomorrow, that sounded vaguely familiar. Cameron probably hadn’t been listening when Agent Brown told her. Allison glanced away from the contents of the fridge to Cameron’s face. “No one told you?”

“Maybe. I don’t remember.”

Allison sighed, closing the fridge. “We have one training session every week, sometimes more. It’s four to seven. You’ll arrive at the gym on time. There’s no need to wear your costume, either. It’ll be mostly CQC practice.”

This wasn’t ideal. She didn’t want to be all worn out when she went to deal with Gladwell. “I’m going to guess it’s not optional.”

“It’s not. You’ll be there.”

“Aye aye captain,” she said, forcing a smile on her face. First order of business, she’d need to text Creed and get him to send Hayes the info the moment he got enough. Second order of business, dinner. Allison was taking out a knife and a cutting board when Cameron went to her room. She grabbed the burner phone from the pocket of a leather jacket hidden in a stack of dirty clothes. With the message sent, she ate her crappy microwavable meal, wondering what Allison was cooking in the kitchen. You’d think she would have learned how to cook already, with her mom being absent for most of her life and Dad being hopeless in the kitchen.

What were they both doing now? Dead, their bodies buried in a ditch somewhere, or alive, doing whatever they wanted?

The thought of them being happy made her angry. After leaving her, at two different points in her life, with no goodbye and all the shit she went through because of it, they didn’t deserve to be happy. They should be twice as miserable as she ever was or burning in hell. Those were the only two outcomes she’d accept.

Cameron arrived four minutes late to training and she received a glare from Allison. Allison should have been happy Cameron showed up at all. Honestly, Cameron spent a lot of time debating about whether she should go or not.

There were two other people with her, a girl about Allison’s age with brown hair a shade or two lighter than Cameron’s own, and a lanky teenage boy holding a sword. The boy had to be Violet Knight. They were all just standing around, waiting.

“We doing this training thing or what?” Cameron asked.

Allison shook her head. “Agent Hayes told us not to start yet, he needs to speak to us first.”

The girl came up to her, smiling, hand outstretched. The preppy type. “Hi, I’m Kate, it’s nice to meet you,” she said, perky.

“I’m Cameron, but I’m betting you already knew that. Nice to meet you too,” Cameron said without even ten percent of the cheer in Kate’s voice. She made sure her voice was loud enough for Violet Knight to hear from where he stood. “And that’s VK, over there?”

He nodded. “It’s Matt.”

“Glad to see you all got introductions out of the way,” Agent Hayes said. She whirled around and saw him striding over to them, holding a yellow folder. “I just received this packet and if it’s true then we’re all going in to be in a lot of trouble.” He met Cameron’s eyes. “Though you may already know about this.”

She could feel her heart rate spike. Experience let her keep her expression even, indifferent. “Know what?”

“I had a few of our agents working on this since we got it.” He tapped the folder. “They’re fast workers, and get even faster with Foresight helping to guide them. Her target, as far as we can tell, are the Speed Fiends and you’ve been known to associate with them.”

Luckily, plausible deniability was still on her side. “They helped me out, once or twice. We’re not friends but in a city like Avocet, with all the big crime groups running around, we little guys like to stick together, you know? Whose this ‘she’ you’re talking about, anyway?”

Hayes broke their little staring contest and turned to address the others. “Gladwell.”

Remembering that she shouldn’t already know this, Cameron tried to look shocked, like anyone would be upon hearing a scary fucker like Gladwell was in the same city as you. “Shit,” she added, to help sell the act.

Kate’s eyes were as wide as saucers and Matt had nearly dropped his sword when Hayes spoke.

Allison didn’t even bat an eyelash.

“What else do we know about the situation?” she asked, going straight to business.

Hayes handed Allison the folder. “We know the Speed Fiends were spotted in New York, around the same time as Gladwell. They could have gotten into an disagreement and now she’s here to get her revenge. I’m assuming you all know the details of her powers and her general personality?”

“Hard not to,” Matt said. The news loved to talk about Gladwell, the havoc she wreaked made entertaining if sometimes tragic headlines.

“Included in the folder is a list of places Gladwell might be hiding in. With my more mundane operatives lacking in the innate protection you all have to powers, I’ll have you three go check out it instead,” Agent Hayes said, deliberately not looking at Kate as he said the last part. Maybe she was like Tom, someone who came here to learn how to control their abilities, not be a superhero.

The frown on her face told Cameron otherwise.

Allison finished reading and passed the folder to Matt. “You are not to engage Gladwell if you find her,” he continued. “This is strictly recon, understand? She’s dangerous and I’d like to have a plan before we even attempt to capture her.” The barest hint of a smile was on his face. Catching Gladwell would take him right out of the doghouse and put him first in line for a promotion. For once, he and Cameron were on the same page. There would be no other way to stop Gladwell from going after Ian. “Go, get suited up. Cameron, you’ll find your official costume has been completed and delivered to your room.”

Matt and Allison rushed out the second Hayes gave the order. “If it doesn’t look badass I want my money back,” Cameron said to Hayes, as she moved to follow them.

“Hey, um, Cameron?” Kate said. She stopped and turned to face her. “We should hang out, sometime. When you’re free.”

“Uh, sure,” Cameron replied. It wasn’t very often people she barely knew asked her to hang out, especially people well aware of Cameron’s criminal history. She hurried out, wouldn’t want Matt and Allison to leave without her.

As promised, a brand new costume was laid out on her bed with a note on top of it. Boots sat at the foot of her bed. She picked up the note and fully admired the costume. It reminded Cameron of Droid’s outfit, with its forest green jacket over a body armor. The body armor was black with green lines over the chest and arms, and it actually looked like body armor, not like skintight spandex that some superheroes wore. There were a pair of gloves laying on the side, beside a utility belt. She picked up the black helmet with her right hand as her eyes moved over to the note she held in her left.

Three words: Welcome, Point Blank.

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When the Chips Are Down 1.6

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His name described him pretty much perfectly, Violet Knight looked like some medieval knight in violet armor, with a big, badass sword in his hands. A sword he used to cut off one of Blondie’s arms.

Cameron whistled, impressed. Were heroes allowed to be that hardcore? She might have come over to the light side sooner if she knew they didn’t all need to act like the perfect little angels the news made them out to be.

Violet Knight jumped back and away from Blondie, who was clutching an already regenerating stump. “You need to get out of here. Out of the store, far away from here,” he spoke urgently.

She knew better to stick around and ask questions when people were in the middle of executing their plan, delaying might fuck everything up. She gave him a nod before teleporting out when she got a good look at a spot outside the store. The second she appeared outside, she teleported again for good measure. She turned to look back at the store, curious. Hopefully their plan consisted of something more than dropping down from the ceiling and cutting off his arms, she expected more from Ionic. Inventor types like her usually didn’t get an intelligence boost from their powers, despite gaining the ability to do super-science, but after she hyped up her skills with that little speech about earning her position as top superhero in town, Cameron expected Ionic to live up to that.

The inside of the store gained a crimson tint, becoming more red than pink. Cameron couldn’t see much from this distance, just red and violet silhouettes.

“What’s going on in there?” Cameron asked. “You guys kicking his ass?”

“Yeah, what the hell is going on over there?” Droid chimed in.

No response.

Well, she couldn’t hear or see anyone screaming in pain, she wasn’t sure if that was a good sign or not. “Hey, Droid, you saw me do everything they asked of me, right? And that it was totally not my fault if those two got themselves killed, right?”

“Can’t see much of an- Oh fuuuuuuuuuuuck.” Cameron was still close enough to the food court to hear the thud.

Cameron snickered. A shame she couldn’t record him falling down from the ceiling, swearing the entire way down, it’d probably get tons of views on the internet, maybe earn a few bucks from it.

“We have him subdued, more or less. If you can pick yourself up, Droid, the more eyes watching him the better. You too, Teleporter. And nice work,” Ionic said.

The tint was gone, returning the store to its normal shade of pink. She teleported to the front of the store, where Ionic stood between Violet Knight and Blondie, both covered from the neck down in sticky rope. Sticky rope was used whenever conventional bindings wouldn’t hold up to the strain people with super strength could put them under. They stuck to you and the harder you tried to escape, the tighter it constricts.

“What happened here?” Cameron asked, nudging Violet Knight with the tip of her boot. He moved his head in her direction, glaring under that helmet of his probably.

“My plan,” Ionic said, a hint of triumphant in her synthesized voice. “I set up a forcefield to trap him inside, had Violet Knight hold him down while I dropped a load of sticky rope on the both of them.” She indicated Blondie with a wave of her hand. “He seems to have fallen unconscious, it’s likely he overused his power and exhausted himself.”

“Wonder why he did all this, with how he was acting I didn’t feel like there was any real purpose to it,” Violet Knight mused.

Cameron frowned, remembering what he said before Violet Knight cut off his arm. She turned on her super-vision. That girl with the pigtails was nowhere in sight. Like she was never here. “You guys didn’t happen to see a little girl with him, did you? Pigtails?”

“No,” Violet Knight said, Ionic shook her head. “Why?”

This was the sort of thing she’d usually ignore if she didn’t receive a note earlier in the day from Creed, telling her to keep her eyes open. Super-vision had a habit of making her see strange things, things she couldn’t make sense of. Superpowers weren’t perfect, there were stories on the news all the time about people being driven insane by them, people dying because they couldn’t properly control their abilities.

“I saw her standing beside him, and when I brought it up, he freaked out,” Cameron admitted.


Ionic pulled out a knife from her belt and cut through the rope around Violet Knight. The edge of the blade had a blue glow, the same shade as the blue on her costume.

The silence that came after was interrupted when Ionic spoke up. “You mentioned earlier your power doesn’t work so well when used against a superhuman?”

“Yeah, I can’t teleport them unless they consciously don’t resist.” It wasn’t too different from trying to turn on her super-vision, trying to stop a natural instinct, one they weren’t really aware of doing.

“It wouldn’t work then, if they’re unconscious?”

“It wouldn’t.”

“Damn. Transporting him would have been a lot easier if you were capable of teleporting him there.” She paused. “Trucks will be arriving in two minutes to take him away.”

He was still on the ground, out like a light or pretending to be. Cameron couldn’t tell for sure with the amount of sticky rope on him, but his arm had completely regenerated. Those shock collars they had that knocked you out if you tried to use your powers wouldn’t work as well for him as it did when they used it on her. They were flawed anyway, if Cameron had really wanted to, she could have teleported it off before it could zap her.

Droid entered the store with his armor looking a little more banged up than the last time Cameron saw him. “Enjoy your fall?” she asked.

“It was fantastic,” Droid answered with forced cheerfulness. He pressed the heel of his boot against Blondie’s nose. “Looks like he’s out cold.” He pushed a little harder. Blondie didn’t react.

“Stop. He’s tied up, defenseless, there’s no need to rough him up anymore than he already is,” Ionic said, meeting his eyes, or close enough to it since they were both wearing helmets.

Droid scoffed. “Maniacs like him are the reason why there’s only a handful of us left in this damn city.” Still, he stepped away from their captive and deliberately looked away. It reminded Cameron of a comment Ionic had made the other day, about Droid being unfit for leadership and how they kept him around as a figurehead. One of the main reasons for his popularity inside and out of Avocet city was because of an incident that happened awhile ago, resulting in the death of half of heroes in the city. Everybody loved a good tragedy, a reason to come together, something to talk about, and they adored the survivors of tragedies even more.

Standing around, without anything to distract her, the pain from getting slammed into the wall twice made itself known. Her costume had softened the hits, but it didn’t provide the sort of protection Ionic, Droid, and Violet Knight’s costumes no doubt did.

Blondie didn’t move an inch in the minutes it took for agents to arrive with special equipment to restrain him. Couldn’t tell for sure, but he didn’t look like he was breathing. Ionic had knelt down and checked his pulse, finding it weak but definitely there. The agents sealed him inside a metal box, with small holes for air. Droid and Violet Knight carried it to the trucks and the rest of them followed, in case he woke up and caused trouble. Once he was safely loaded up into the truck, they hopped into another truck that trailed behind the other, waiting, watching.

Nothing happened, Blondie was still unconscious when they got to HQ and moved him to a cell. Ionic and Violet Knight went with the agents to the cells, while Droid wandered off to do his own thing.

Cameron was escorted to medical, after Droid mentioned how hard she got hit. She would have preferred to have just been allowed to go to her room with a bottle of painkillers. Doctors were never her favorite people, an old habit ingrained from childhood by daddy dearest.

Well, at least he was easy on the eyes. A few more inches and he’d be a shoe in for tall, dark, and handsome doctor in some soap opera set in a hospital.

“You seem to be alright,” Dr. Klein said, his eyes on the clipboard in his hands, after she went through a bunch of tests. “I can give you something for the pain, I guess, maybe see if you qualify for special medication. Otherwise, you can go back to your room, get some rest or do homework, avoid physical activity. Putting some ice on it wouldn’t hurt either.”

“Special medication?” she asked, zipping her costume back up.

“Inventor made, they speed up healing. We try not to use them too often, we’re not sure on the long term effects if there are any.”

“Don’t think it’s that bad,” Cameron said.

Dr. Klein shrugged. “You’ll be the one dealing with it. Hang on a sec.” He walked over to a cabinet on the far side of the room and searched the shelves.

“Are you close to being finished?”

Cameron jumped a little, very glad that Dr. Klein wasn’t facing her when it happened. She’d have to bury herself into a hole six feet deep if someone saw her get startled so easily. She forgot there were speakers in here, along with many other rooms in the building so Agent Hayes could quickly and easily get in contact with people.

“She’s done, Agent Hayes, I’m just grabbing something for her,” Dr. Klein called out, loud enough to be easily picked up by the microphones.

“Good, I want to have a quick conversation with her in her room. Tell her to come immediately, I don’t have much time to waste.”

“He does realize I’m right here and can hear every word he’s saying, right?” Cameron said.

Dr. Klein crossed the room and handed her a bottle of over the counter painkillers. “You do realize he’s kind of an asshole, right?”

“Learned that on my first day.” She smiled, hopping off the bed she was sitting on. She gave him a wave goodbye before pulling on her helmet and going straight to her room. The idea of Hayes being in her room made her skin crawl.

He had made himself comfortable in her computer chair, idly tapping his fingers against the edge of her desk. “Hello Cameron, I’ve heard you were a big help today.”

“And?” She took off the helmet and put on the bed, beside her backpack and the clothes she was wearing earlier, someone must have brought them to her room from the car.

“You’ve heard of the tragedy, haven’t you? That left me with half a team, most of them children. Not many heroes wanted to transfer here after we fucked up that badly. I do the best I can with what I have, regardless. We managed well so far but it’s been quiet and I have it on good authority that it won’t stay that way for long. Anymore screw ups and I’m liable to be out of a job. Today’s not as bad as it could have been, but it wasn’t good either. See my predicament?”

He didn’t wait for her to respond.

“Start packing up your things, we’ll be moving you to the fourth floor by the end of the week. Welcome to the team, Cameron.”

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When the Chips Are Down 1.1

Author’s Note: A possible reboot is happening as of now (4/25/2014), so this may no longer be canon or continued. To proceed to the reboot, click here

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How did her life go from living it up, doing whatever she damn well pleased, to wishing the walls of her cell at least had tiles for her to count?

Whoever designed this cell didn’t even have the decency to consider what incredibly bored prisoners would do for entertainment without a single tile to count. The walls were smooth metal, sturdy enough to withstand someone with superstrength using them as punching bags all day.

There was a small stack of three books lying beside Cameron’s pillow, and despite all of them being mediocre, she had read them from cover to cover twice already.

Two days of being trapped in this room and she felt like pulling her hair out, just to have something to do and keep her thoughts away from what was going to happen to her when they released her.

The government didn’t take too kindly to people who stole their things, especially when those things were very expensive pieces of equipment that had the added bonus of being hard to make, requiring the assistance of an inventor, a superhuman with the powers of creating advanced technology. They really didn’t like it if you did it more than once.

Cameron tapped the metal braclet on her wrist, another inventor made gadget that stopped people from using their powers. Well, that wasn’t true exactly. It could detect when you were about to use your powers and when it did, it shocked you hard enough to render you unconcious. If she didn’t have this, she probably would have already escaped by now. Cameron could still go and try to escape but it was a bit of a gamble. What would happen first, her magical powers of teleportation getting this damn bracelet off, or the bracelet sending her to see the sandman? Not a gamble she was willing to take, considering if she tried and failed they’d tighten up her security even more, maybe even put her in a medically induced coma or something. Cameron had heard stories.

Hope was not completely lost. Her life of crime had benefits, connections she was using to help get her out of this mess. A lawyer, in this case.

Robert Blackwell.

Robert Blackwell was a name that popped up in the news often enough to stick in the public’s mind. He was a defense lawyer who became famous for his willingness to work for supervillains, then to balance it out, he took on many cases for free, selecting people who couldn’t afford a topnotch lawyer and were victims of circumstance.

By night, he was a supervillain himself, going by the name Creed.

He was one of the best and he assured her she wouldn’t be going to jail. He probably planned on playing the tragic past and the oh she’s just a teenager, she doesn’t know what she’s doing cards.

And as long as they didn’t find out about the really bad stuff in her past, Cameron had a fighting chance.

The doors swooshed open. A tall, imposing man with a scarred face stepped into the room, a pair of handcuffs held in his hands. Not a superhero, an SAA, short for Superhuman Affairs Agency, agent.

It must be important. They tried to avoid letting her out of her cell as much as possible, the chance that she’d use the opportunity to escape was too high. They didn’t even let her leave to speak to her lawyer, forcing her to talk to him over the phone, one they were probably monitoring.

“Don’t make this difficult. Hands,” he ordered. He never introduced himself but she remembered someone calling him Agent Hayes.

Cameron gave him a look. She felt tempted to give him trouble, make things difficult, just because he assumed she would. She sighed as she extended her arms and let him handcuff her. Later, she promised herself.

Silently, they walked out of the cell and down the hall, into a room she recognized, the interrogation room. They had brought her here shortly after they captured her. There was already someone sitting at the table, a phone in his hand. Creed. He wore a black business suit, his dirty blond hair neatly brushed, attractive in a clean-cut way. He looked up from his phone and smiled winningly at her. “Miss Pierce, it’s a pleasure to meet you, face to face.”

She returned the smile as she took the seat next to him.

The agent sat down in the chair on the other side of the table. “Mr. Blackwell and I have managed to come to an agreement. He seems to think you’re an ideal candidate for one of our special rehabilitation programs. He’s talked to you about it?”

He had. There were a bunch of facilities where some of the less violent supervillains could be sent to, in the hopes of one day turning them into productive, law-abiding members of society. Creed had said there was a pretty high chance of them trying to send her to one of those. That idea sounded horrible, Cameron spent time in a similar place before, a place young, troubled powers got tossed in, and it had been far from being a pleasant experience. Creed had offered an alternative. Apparently, if someone had a useful enough superpower and their crimes and personality weren’t too bad, they were given the opportunity to become superheroes, as a form of community service. Something about positive peer pressure making them more likely to stay on the straight and narrow.

She would have said no to that too but Creed subtly hinted that it was important for her to say yes. He couldn’t explain his real reasons, not with the SAA listening in. Cameron trusted him, and owed him, maybe more than she could ever repay.

“Yeah, he has,” Cameron said. “He told me you don’t think I would be a good fit.”

“Still don’t. Someone else agrees with your lawyer though, and she tends to handle that kind of crap. I’ll leave it to her. What I handle is the tactical aspect of our operations here in this city, figuring out ways to efficiently and effectively defeat and capture superpowered crooks. I look at you and I don’t see a team player, someone I could use out on the battlefield. You’ll cause more harm than good. That said, more people disagree with me than agree, so I’m willing to give you a shot.”

“Great.” She raised her arms, rattling the chain a little as she pulled her hands apart. “Can I get these off then?”

Agent Hayes smirked. “After. There’s a few things we have to go over, first.”

“You’ll live here, in the SAA building, until something else can be arranged. I assumed you wouldn’t want to return to where you lived before,” Creed said. “You will, of course, be monitored for a while with a tracker to let them know where you are, and you must start attending school again.”

High school. Ugh.

“And there’s a curfew,” Hayes chimed in.

“Whatever. Is that it?” Cameron tugged at the handcuffs again.

He shrugged. “Agent Brown will, undoubtedly, go into more detail later.” He reached into his pocket and retrieved a key which he used to unlock the handcuffs. “Stay here, someone will come in a minute for you. I have more important things to do with my time.” Hayes stood up and left, leaving her and Creed alone in the room.

“Is this satisfactory?” Creed asked.

“It’s alright, I guess.” She sighed. “Better than jail. I could do without a curfew.”

“The woman Agent Hayes mentioned, the one who convinced him, is a much more reasonable person than Agent Hayes. I’ve spoken to her, Agent Brown, and I think she would be willing to lift the curfew, provided you stay on your best behavior,” he said, lightly.

Cameron wanted to ask what his endgame was. Creed was a planner, every move he made was carefully thought out, designed to put himself in a better position. He was a pretty nice guy to her, going above and beyond the call of duty in helping her but at the end of the day, he was a supervillain. Successful criminals were rarely selfless beings. Not that there were a lot of selfless people running around generally, in any group.

It just seemed a little too good that she avoided jail and was going be putting on a white hat instead thanks to a criminal mastermind.

The door opened as a younger agent came in, also male, he gestured for them to stand up. They did, and Creed gave her another smile, extended his hand for her to shake. “Good luck, Miss Pierce. If anything comes up, you have my number.”

“Thanks,” she said as she shook his hand.

Once Creed was gone, the agent turned to her. “It’s not official yet, but I’ve been asked to escort you to your new room regardless. Follow me.”

They walked out of the room, with him in the lead. He guided her to the elevator at the end of the hall. Cameron would have preferred taking the stairs, if there were any down here, but this guy didn’t seem like he wanted to take the long way. They didn’t pass any other agents on their way to the elevator. The agent tapped his ID card against a panel below the numbers before he pushed a button. Third floor. The elevator lurched into motion. “Most heroes have a space set aside for them on the fourth floor,” he said. “You’ll be allowed there when they vet you.”

“Are they going to make me take a lie detector test or something?” Cameron asked. She looked down at the sweats she was wearing, they were comfortable but, well, she’d rather be wearing something she owned.

He shook his head. “They’ll use some mental power instead.”

There were a number of mental superpowers that could do the job, mind reading, some analysis power, maybe even precognition. The chances of them using telepathy was low, thank god, it was one of the powers that didn’t work well or at all when used against someone else with powers. The elevator doors opened, and from there it was a short walk to a hallway to her room. It didn’t have much in it, just a bed, nightstand, and a desk with a computer. Bigger than her cell, though, and there was a window, covered by a curtain.

“Someone will come up later with food, until then you’re free to entertain yourself with the computer, it’s already connected to the internet. The bathroom is two doors to your left. Other than that, you’re not allowed to leave this room.”

“What if there’s an emergency?” Cameron said melodramatically. He gave her a questioning look. She smirked, and shoved her hand in his face. “See? My nail polish is starting to chip.”

He rolled his eyes and left, closing the door behind him, without a goodbye.

That made her feel better about this crappy situation. Wasn’t as bad as it could be, but it was far from ideal.

A little sunlight sounded really good right now, after days of being locked inside that cell. Cameron walked over to the window and pushed the curtains aside. Her view of the outside world was blocked by a sheet of paper taped to the glass. A message, written in black marker.


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