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.
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.”