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Chapter 05: Breaking the Bank

Written by willow :: [Saturday, 04 February 2017 01:12] Last updated by :: [Monday, 10 April 2017 14:09]

Breaking the Bank

The car service that I called dropped me off at the front entrance to the Data Vault’s main building. I walked in expecting to find a decadent, gold-laden lobby that exemplified the sometimes-garish way many buildings were laid out thanks to the near unlimited funding from oil money. I was surprised to find the place was actually very high tech with a super modern design. It was clearly designed to impress, but was done in a way that said “We know high technology” rather than “I won the yesterday’s Powerball.” The marble tiles clicked loudly under my high heels as I walked towards the receptionist desk. The receptionist was a very attractive woman dressed very modestly and wearing a colorful hijab to cover her hair. She seemed like the perfect blend of modernity with more traditional Middle Eastern values.

“Hello, ma’am. How can I help you?” she asked in a perfect British accent.

“My name is Samantha Thompson. I have an appointment about setting up an account.”

The receptionist smiled immediately at hearing my name, “Yes, Ms. Thompson. We have been expecting you today. I will notify Mr. Bashir that you have arrived. Would you like me to get you some refreshments in the meantime?”

“No, thank you.”

“Of course, if you would have a seat, Mr. Bashir will be down in a moment.”

I turned and took a seat in one of the comfortable leather chairs that dotted the front reception area in between several coffee tables. Several groups of men were already sitting in the area, and having private conversations between themselves or checking their phones. Just like the previous night at the club, it was a mix of different ethnicities and languages that showed the international appeal of this Data Vault. All of them were wearing finely tailored suits that fit them like a glove.

The business attire of both the customers and staff walking around the open area made me feel slightly out of place. I was wearing a sleek blouse that left little skin exposed, and also had a skirt that came down to my knees. I had also tied up my hair in a bun to help me look more professional. I knew that I was supposed to be someone from old money, but it still made me feel like I was out of my element among these people. Despite all the power and authority that I was supposedly surrounded by, the conversations were completely mundane. Discussions of local sports from back home, changing stock prices, or the great time they had last night in one of Dubai’s nightclubs.

As I waited, I watched the crowds of people walking by beyond the receptionist desk. It was a hub of activity as employees with their ID badges moved from office to office, or escorted customers around the facilities. While I watched, my eyes also caught a glimpse of Monica Braun walking with a gaggle of other individuals in suits. She was dressed in a sharp business suit herself, and had a no funny business kind of look on her face. Monica was escorted into one of the elevators, and disappeared as the doors closed. I was just about to use my x-ray vision to keep watching her when Mr. Bashir arrived.

“As-salaamu alaykum, Ms. Thompson. It is a pleasure to see you on this fine day.”

Mr. Bashir was a tall, thin man with a neatly trimmed beard and glasses. He wore a dark suit that was clearly tailored to conform perfectly to his frame, and gave a sharp professional air to his appearance. He kept a respectable distance, and did not immediately offer to shake my hand.

I smiled back to him, and responded “Wa-alaikum salaam.” I offered my hand to him in my response. Mr. Bashir smiled greatly, stepped forward, and gave it a firm shake. His body language gave the impression of someone who kept distance at first due to the disparity of clients rather than being a more traditional conservative from the Middle East.

“We cannot express how happy that we are that you and your family have chosen our company to help keep your private information secure in this inter-connected world. Would you care to step into my office so we can talk more privately?”

I smiled back as I responded, “I would love to do so. However, since I am here, I would be highly interested in getting a tour of your facilities. It would help put me more at ease that our data will be safe here.”

“Of course, let us step over to the Security Desk so we can get you properly credentialed, and then I can give you a full tour of our facilities.” Mr. Bashir turned to walk past the receptionist desk, and made a direct line for what was clearly the Security Desk. There appeared to be two actually. I did a scan of the building from the inside with my x-ray vision. Once inside and on this floor at least, the walls easily melted away. It was fairly mundane once beyond the lobby. Offices both large and small intermixed with a decent number of cubicles. Each populated with employees working hard at their computers, or finishing up some form of paperwork. My lack of Arabic meant most of it all was just gibberish and squiggly lines to me. The Security Desk that we were going to was staffed with a handsome man also in a suit standing by a computer, video camera, and small printer. The other security desk was a room with no windows. Inside were three security guards in sharp uniforms with sub-machine guns sitting next to them as they sat. The wall next to them also appeared to have a couple of assault rifles just waiting to be used. The entrance to their room was a non-descript door that could be easily missed by the unobservant. If trouble happened at the front entrance, these guys were the first line of defense.

As we walked up to the Security Desk, Mr. Bashir gave some instructions to the person inside. He turned to me as the young man started typing away on his computer. “Ms. Thompson, would you happen to have your passport with you?”

“Yes, of course. I was asked to bring it with me for the appointment.” I reached into a small purse, and pulled out the fake passport that Superman had gotten me. While I don’t own a passport myself, it certainly looked authentic.

“Thank you very much.” Mr. Bashir said as he took the document, and handed it to the young man on the computer. The passport was scanned and verified for its authenticity. Apparently, the person who made it did their job right since it was quickly handed back to me. They then took my picture using the camera next to the computer, and created a temporary ID badge that I could attach to my blouse.

“Ms. Thompson, you will be required to wear that ID badge at all times during our tour. If, for whatever reason, we get separated, you can show this badge to a security officer. He will help escort you to an area where we can meet up again and continue our tour. And please don’t worry, all of our staff speak English as a second language since it helps interacting with so many of our customers.”

I smiled, “The language of trade, I assume”

Mr. Bashir smiled back, “For the present moment. Now if you follow me to the elevators, we can begin the tour in the vaults and move our way upwards back to my offices.”

As we moved past the Security Desk and beyond the reception area, I encountered the first security gauntlet to get by. The security gate into the rest of the building had metal detectors and the full body scanners often seen at American airports. Two-armed security guards manned the post with guns strapped to their belts and hard looks on their face. Mr. Bashir was the warm and smiling open palm of the company while these guards were that same company’s closed fist.

I placed my purse on the x-ray scanner, and proceeded to go through the full body scanner. Not a beep or burp emerged from the scanners so I was clear to move onto the next stage of this infiltration. Of course, who needs special gadgets when you can rip a car in half or tear a vault door completely off the wall with your bare hands. I took my purse back into my hand, and following Mr. Bashir on to the elevators. The ride down in the elevator was short and uneventful. Mr. Bashir took the time in explaining how the vault system worked in order to store the data and also keep it secure. Apparently, some larger customers keep a small IT group based in Dubai whose sole jobs are to maintain whatever storage systems are inside the individual vaults. A few customers do not even keep electronic equipment, and rely on old style safety deposit boxes and filing cabinets locked inside the vaults. Mr. Bashir claimed that it was a testament to their security procedures both physical and virtual that made them safer than most banks around the world.

According to Mr. Bashir, we arrived on the seventh floor under the building, which he called Floor Khaa. When he pronounced it, the letter sounded like he was trying to clear something from his throat. The floor itself was fairly distinct from anything that I expected. It was laid out in a tile format with large white tiles covering every inch of space. Mr. Bashir claimed that this was raised floors, normally used in data centers to allow for network and power cables. He also explained that every area underneath the tiles was restricted with razor wires to prevent people from crawling around. The only gaps being for actual wiring, which was securely bundled and contained in fiberglass cases.

The level had high ceilings, and it appeared that the walls were made out of solid steel. However, the most interesting part was how the rooms were laid out. Each vault was a glass room of varying size. Several of the glass walls showed empty vaults with nothing inside. Some other vaults had glass walls that were opaque. Each of the vaults were separated from the others by two tile spaces creating a series of corridors throughout the floor. The vaults all had electronic doors with badge readers and control panel of some kind.

“So here we are in your potential vault, Ms. Thompson!” Mr. Bashir exclaimed as he walked through the level to one of the empty vaults.

“Why are some of these vaults opaque while others are transparent?”

Mr. Bashir turned to face me as he walked with clear enthusiasm for explaining their security measures, “That is part of our security system. When a visitor or customer comes into a vault level, all the vaults that they do not have access to shift to be opaque. This prevents anyone from seeing inside another person’s vault. The only exception are security officers that patrol each of the levels. When they are on patrol, all vaults become transparent so they can easily see inside to confirm no one unauthorized is inside.”

“What if two customers come to access their vault on the same level?”

“We only allow one customer at a time per floor so scheduling appointments in advance is a critical must. We do have options for emergency access on short notice, but place a heavy price along with such access to prevent its overuse. The security patrols are also scheduled so not to overlap with your own visit as well.

“Could someone break into my vault while visiting their own?”

“That would not be possible. We monitor the location and movement of every badge holder that comes through here. This is overlapped with body temperature readings and other biometric data to ensure that badge holders remain near their badges.”

Mr. Bashir went to the door of an empty vault of rather small size, and used his badge to open the doorway. We both stepped inside to get a closer, inside look at the place. Mr. Bashir continued to explain the security features.

“If we detect any anomalies, heat signature without a badge or badge without heat signature, then the floor goes into lockdown mode. All the doors to the vaults close and lock automatically. The walls become transparent across the entire floor, and a security team is dispatched to investigate the anomaly.

I looked around the area. “I don’t see any cameras on this floor.”

“That is because there are none. We don’t keep any cameras on the vault floors since it could allow people to peer into the vaults and spy on their contents. The only people that can see inside a vault are specially trained security staff. Even the security staff that you passed in the main entrance have no authorization to come into the vault floors.”

I chuckled, and asked “What if I have some medical emergency?”

Mr. Bashir smiled back, “In that highly unlikely event, our security staff are all trained as first aid paramedics who can help get you to a safe location where you can then be transported to a local hospital. However, in the years that we have operated, we have had no such incident. Each of these vaults are equipped with a panic button next to the door. If you press it, then entire floor goes on lockdown. The walls are also bulletproof so you can remain safely inside your vault in the event of an emergency.”

I have to admit that I was impressed. These vaults certainly seemed to be secure. I would be happily ready to sign a contract with them if I actually came from an old money family in North Westchester County of New York. Sadly, both Mike and I were the farthest thing from old money anywhere in the United States of America. Without Mike’s football career, we will both be old and retired before all of our college debt is repaid. I decided that it was time to get to work. The vault would be a secure place to leave Mr. Bashir so that he did not interfere with my own work.

“Mr. Bashir, this is an excellent setup that you have here.” Mr. Bashir was clearly happy at my comments, and nodded his head in agreement. “I believe that my family will be very happy with this vault and the secrets that it can hold.”

Mr. Bashir beamed with delight that he had secured a new customer so easily. He began walking towards me as I stood near the door. He responded, “That is most excellent. If you will follow me, then we can …”

Mr. Bashir did not get a chance to finish the statement. As he got closer, I brought my hand up and flicked my finger at his forehead. If I had used my full strength, it would have been like firing a gun into his brain. Instead, I tried to be as light and gentle as possible to get the results that I wanted. It appeared to work as Mr. Bashir was instantly knocked out cold and sent sprawling onto the floor. I opened my purse, and removed a small device from inside. Thankfully, the person who had setup the fake passport had also done right with the purse. Superman claimed that it would give a false image to whatever x-ray scanner went over it. I was just glad that no one got the bright idea of physically searching my purse.

I removed my badge, and placed it next to Mr. Bashir as he lay on the ground. I then took the small device, turned it on, and placed it on the belt that looped around my skirt. The device gave off a very chill feeling around my waist where it was strapped. Superman claimed that it would not fool a sensor for long, but it would give me the seconds that need. I turned to the control panel in the doorway. I activated the privacy mode turning the wall opaque, and then shut the door behind me as I left. I then grabbed the control panel with my right hand, and dug my fingers into it. Its metal screamed in protest as it failed to stop my superior strength. With a pull of my hand, I ripped the control panel off the vault’s wall. This would ensure that no one could open the door easily from that panel, and also likely trapped Mr. Bashir inside should he wake up early.

I took off my high heel shoes and left them at the door into the vault. I then lifted off the ground using my flight abilities, and soared towards the elevator doors at a fast pace. The device and fast pace of my movement should keep the sensors confused until I get out of their range. Once at the elevator doors, I dug my fingers into the split between each of the doors. The metal protested again, but was no match for me. It screamed as the metal deformed in my hands as I tried to get a better grip. Once my hold was secure, I pushed the doors apart and into the walls. The doors continued to scream in protest, but were unable to resist my power.

The elevator shaft was empty. I looked down and counted at least another ten floors below us. Thankfully, my own target floor was not too high up. I stepped off the ledge into the elevator shaft, and hovered there for a moment while I looked up. The elevator had returned to the main lobby floor, and appeared to be just sitting there. A quick scan of my x-ray vision showed that nobody was inside so I could complete my work. Looking for what Superman had told me about, I looked around for the large metal box that acted as the elevator’s counter-weight. As Superman said, elevators basically just a pulley system. Remove the counter-weight, the elevator will fall to the ground and be completely inoperable.

I saw the first counter-weight on one side of the elevator, and floated over to it. I grabbed the steel cable in my hand and squeezed. The metal protested loudly and then snapped. The counter-weight began falling to the ground, and smashed with a loud thud like an explosion going off. I had to act faster now since people would know something is wrong. I floated over to the second counter-weight, and repeated what I had just done. The steel felt cold in my hand, but proved unable to resist my incredible grip. Like its brother, the counter-weight quickly fell to the bottom floor with a loud crash. However, what startled me was the screaming sound that the elevator made as it came crashing down too. While smashing through the elevator would be child’s play, I did not want to take the chance of confronting Monica naked or damaging the purse that I placed to use to carry the hard drives in. I quickly ducked into a maintenance shaft that contained a ladder a repairman could use in case of elevator problems. The shaft was just large enough to keep me out of the way of the rapidly descending elevator. The elevator hit the bottom floor with an amazingly loud bang and thunderous boom that shook the entire building. If anyone had been inside that steel box, they would be paste right now.

I pulled away from the maintenance shaft, and floated two floors up to where I needed to be. Just as before, I grabbed the elevator doors and pulled them apart with my massive strength. They screamed and deformed in the process, but were unable to match my strength. I felt incredible as the steel seemed to melt and succumb to my desire. With the doors pulled open, I flew into Floor Jeem as quickly as possible without trying to cause more undue damage to the vaults. Creating a sonic boom in the building would have bad consequences.

Within seconds, I spotted the particular vault that I desired. The room was laid out very similarly to the lower floor that I was on. Some vaults appeared bigger than others, but it clearly gave LexCorp an easy way to compartmentalize their secrets on the same floor. I scanned the room with my x-ray vision, and spotted Monica in the vault that I also need to get to. I also spotted what looked like the EMP bomb secured on the roof inside the vault. In fact, each vault appeared to have an individual bomb attached. I surmised that the vaults had special shielding so exploding one EMP in a vault would not kill the data in every other vault on the same floor. Hopefully, my guess was right or else this entire trip would all be for nothing.

I flew over to the vault in question, and floated just outside where Monica was working away at a keyboard. I was not sure what she was doing, but need to make sure it had nothing to do with the drives that I wanted. At least Monica was enhanced so I knew that she could take a punch. I pulled my arm back and made a fist. I then unleashed the coiled-up power in my arm, and punched my way right through the vault’s thick fiberglass wall. The thick fiberglass stood no chance against my first. It shattered into a thousand pieces at the force while my first and body continued to sail forwards towards Monica.

Monica only had a second to turn her head towards me, and open her eyes widely in shock. The sight must have been impressive with a tall, blonde woman in a dress flying towards her with her fist out in the air. Before Monica could react any further, my fist impacted on her cheek. It was like time was suddenly moving in slow motion. My fist deformed her cheek and face where it impacted and succumbed to the power I put into my attack. Pain instantly registered on Monica’s face as her eyes began to close at the impact. Her head snapped back and took the rest of her body with her as she flew back and smashed against the opposite wall of the vault. Her impact cracked the fiberglass, which spider-glassed across the entire panel. I also heard a loud crack coming from her cheek leading me to assume that one or more bones in her face actually broken from my punch. Monica slid to the ground unconscious with blood coming out of her nose. Thankfully, she was still alive despite the force that I can put into the punch. If anything it was a testament to the kind of power an Ambrosia Amazon retained even after the initial effects of the Ambrosia wore off.

I steadied myself floating in the vault, and looked at the EMP bomb which appeared to be beginning its arming sequence for detonation. Smashing a vault wall was clearly one of its trigger methods. Thinking quickly, I narrowed my eyes and focused on the bomb. Twin beams of red hot energy leaped out of my eyes and incinerated the bomb. While that bomb did not go off, I saw through the clear walls of the other vaults that the others on this level did. Electrical arcs flashed through each of the vaults as their EMP bombs destroyed the hardware and any data stored within their systems. I hoped that I was seeing the destruction of any horrible blackmail material that Lex Luthor had on others. As I landed on the ground, I began hearing alarms go off throughout the building and other floors. It sounded like the entire building was going on lockdown so I had to hurry. If the elevator and vault wall shattering were not enough to trigger the alarms, my heat vision certainly tripped the thermal sensors so I knew they had to be coming now. I grabbed the device on my belt and squeezed it in the palm of my hands until it was useless junk.

I walked over to the grid tiles that Superman had indicated. Each tile held a rack of servers so I was not sure which server inside the rack was the one. So, I did what anyone would do in a desperate situation where speed was of the essence. Using my impossible strength, I grabbed the front of the first server and ripped it out of the rack. The screws holding in place were no match for me, and snapped instantly as the server pulled out. I then ripped the top cover off the server, disconnected the hard drive, and stuffed it inside my purse. I proceed to the next server in the rack and repeated my action. Once done, I brought my fist down on the equipment in the rack like a hammer. The metal, plastic, and silicon boards were nothing compared to my power. The equipment inside was shredded and ripped to pieces.

I repeated the action on the next tile grid that I was looking for. As I finished, I heard the sound of combat boots running towards me down the vault corridors. I leaned over and saw six heavily armed guards in what almost looked like riot gear and carrying assault rifles. These boys were not fooling around, and were in a definite shoot first, ask questions later kind of mode. As they ran down to the hallway, I took one of the server racks with both hands and yanked it out of the tiles. Part of the floor came with it as I wrenched it free with a loud scream of metallic protest. The rack towered over me, but was like holding an empty cardboard box in my hands. I stepped into the hallway while holding the server rack with all of its screwed in equipment. The power and network cables attached ripped apart as their resistance was meaningless to my strength.

The guards stopped their run, and stared at me in shock. Whatever they expected, I was certainly not it. Before they could react further, I pulled my arms back and hurled the server rack at them. The lucky ones in the back were able to dodge down side corridors to safety. However, the ones in front were not so lucky as the heavy server rack smashed into them. They collapsed under its weight, and found themselves pinned to the floor, unable to get up. By their shouts, they clearly had some broken bones, but were mostly protected from being crushed completely by their combat armor.

I went back into the vault, and began ripping out the last hard drives from the third and final grid location. As I stuffed the last hard drive in my purse, one of the guards flanked me from where Monica lay on the ground by the cracked vault wall. Despite being on the opposite side of the wall, he pointed his gun at me and opened fire. I am not sure what kind of rifle it was, but it tore through the cracked fiberglass wall like butter, leaving enough holes to make the wall look like Swiss cheese. I put the purse behind my back to ensure that it did not get damaged, and took the full brunt of the bullets. I had never been shot before, but these bullets felt exceedingly sharp as they hit my skin. I suspected they were armor piecing in design, and the rifle’s large size definitely meant they would tear through normal humans in seconds.

However sharp or not those bullets were, they all proved pointless against my invulnerable body. My clothing was shredded in seconds, and left me standing there in a pile of rags. I had to admit that the feeling of these bullets bounding off my super tits was an amazing highlight of the event. I definitely needed someone to try this against me in a more private setting. Before the any remaining guards could get behind me, I moved forward towards the shooter. With each step the shooter back up as I moved forward, and I could see the fear forming in his eyes. I walked right through the fiberglass wall as if it was nothing. I grabbed the barrel of the gun as he fired and twisted it away from his grip. It was clearly too fast for him to react as my action also broke several fingers where he was gripping the trigger. I placed the stock of the rifle against my bare knee and bent it with my arm. Stuck between my super strong legs and arms, the rifle had no choice but to bend and scream to my will. Its metal twisted and deformed until the gun was useless. I took the remains of the broken rifle and used it as a club against the cowering soldier. He flew into the wall of a nearby vault, and fell to the ground in a daze. He was still alive, but completely out of the action now.

I had to get out of here quickly now. The longer that I stayed, the greater chance that someone would damage the hard drives that I came to collect. I started running towards the elevator doors. As I did one of the guards jumped out from the side corridors and opened fire. I was close enough that I grabbed his rifle and shoved it into his shoulder. Given how he screamed, I was certain that I had dislocated the shoulder that the rifle hit. However, I was not fast enough to stop the bullet coming out of the gun itself. It hit me directly in the left eye. I stumbled a bit at that. I did not hurt, but it was more of the shock of getting hit in that area of my body. It is disorientating if coming unexpectedly like that.

After leaving the guard screaming on the ground and holding his shoulder, I finished my run to the elevator and jumped in. I then cradled my purse in one arm to protect it as best possible, and pointed my first directly up toward the ceiling. With a push of my flight power, I immediately took off into the air like a bullet. I smashed through the roof of the building, and sent debris flying over a hundred feet into the air. However, I kept going up for several hundred feet. I turned back towards the city itself and flew towards the sea. Within moments, I spotted the boat that Superman had told me would be waiting for me. It was not hard to miss since it was the only one that was flying a Texas flag. The boat itself was a small fishing boat that was about a mile away from the beach and far away from another other vessel sitting in the Gulf.

I landed on the open back of the boat, and was surprised to find an American at the helm. He jumped at the sight of me landing on his boat, and swallowed hard when he realized that the remaining rags that I was wearing had all blown off in the flight. He was a redheaded kid in his early 20s with a freckled face. He was dressed like an American tourist playing the role of a fisherman. He even had two fishing rods tied up to the stern of the boat with lines in the water. The man’s eyes gave me a full look over from top to bottom with a slight lingering on my large and naked breasts. I could hear his heartbeat increase in rhythm as his eyes gazed on my naked form.

“Oh, ah, hello ma’am! You must be …” The kid stammered upon getting his composure.

I held up my hand to stop him from speaking further. “Yes, that’s me. I assume we have a mutual friend in common.”

“Yes, ma’am. My name is Jimmy Olsen. I have a spare set of clothes in the cabin below for you.”

I smiled at that since hanging around here naked as not my first option. Superman clearly anticipated that my normal clothes might not survive the break-in. I went below into the small cabin area. The boat was large enough that it had a small bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom inside. It was by no means yacht quality, but something that a tourist could likely rent for a multi-day fishing excursion. The boat even had a small bathroom with a shower. The clothes were laid out on the bed. I jumped into the shower to clean myself off from any remaining debris that was hanging in my skin and hair, and then changed into the clothes that were left for me. It was nice sun dress that fit the whole tourist theme. I also secured the hard drives in a lead-lined case that was left in the cabin. After I had cleaned up, I returned to the deck where Jimmy was waiting for me. He was sitting in a chair and minding the fishing lines. I sat down on the chair next to him, and took out a beer that Jimmy had on ice in a cooler. It was refreshing change from the excitement this morning.

“So, have you been out here long?” I asked.

Jimmy gave me a smile before taking a drink from his beer, “I rented the boat this morning, and have been out here fishing most of the day.”

“Thanks for the spare clothes, by the way,” I said as I glanced over to him. I could see his cheeks turn bright red as he clearly remembered my naked body landing on the deck of the boat.

Jimmy closed his eyes and smiled to break the tension that he was feeling, “You’re welcome. However, our friend mentioned that you might use the suit that he had tailored for you.

I smiled back at him, “I considered it, but thought better to go in dressed in what I guess that you could call ‘civilian’ clothes. Besides, the full suit is pretty hard to hide well with a body like mine.”

Jimmy laughed at my joke, but refrained from commenting on the shape or size of my figure. Before I could ask another question, I heard the pop of a sonic boom coming from up in the sky. I tapped Jimmy on the shoulder, and nodded my head upwards to the sky. We both quickly spotted a small human shape come flying over the city at high speed, and then begin to descend into a landing around where the Data Vault building should be.

Jimmy asked, “Was that?”

I just nodded my head in agreement. Superior Girl was in town to see what happened to Lex’s secrets. We drank our beers for a while longer in silence. I finally broke it as the sun was beginning to set to ask more about Jimmy. I tuned my super hearing on to see if I could hear anything. However, all that I was able to distinguish was the sound of Dubai residents going about their daily business. I was not sure how Superman could zero in on certain sounds or voices. It would probably take years for me to develop that kind of precision with these powers.

Jimmy looked towards me and asked, “Picking up anything?” He clearly knew about Superman’s abilities, and was hoping that I was listening in on some super-secret conversation with Superior Girl miles into Dubai.

I shook my head in a negative to his question, and decided to change the subject, “So why a Texas flag?”

Jimmy smiled, “I was born there. It seemed easy enough to spot, but would not immediately set off any anti-American sentiments from locals.”

I laughed at the idea, “Yes, it was. Besides, I have not travelled outside the country so I never would have recognized any other nation’s flag. At least, it was not the Confederate flag.”

Jimmy laughed at that, “Ha. My mother raised me right.”

“What brings you out here beyond our mutual friend?”

“Work mostly. I have often worked with him in his civilian and non-civilian persona.”

I was starting to get intrigued, “So you?”

“Yeah, guess you could say I am on that little inner circle. We met a long time ago when he was first starting out. I had no idea at first. However, one thing led to another, and boom, secrets uncovered.”

“Doesn’t you being here potentially put him in danger?”

Jimmy smiled at some unknown secret, “Not really. My work as a photojournalist already had me working in Iraq. I will be travelling to Syria shortly. I just requested a much-needed break before going back into the demon’s maw. If you are in the Middle East already, Dubai can be an obvious vacation spot. I work for independent media nowadays. A bit more mercenary, but it gives me the freedom to go where I want.”

“Sounds like you have some fun adventures to tell.”

Jimmy finished off his beer, and reached over to open another one, “Ha. Yeah, if that is what normal people call being almost killed half a dozen times. I saw Iraq when it was really ugly, and lived to tell the tale. Now I get to see Syria at its worse, and hope that I live to see another day.”

“If it is so dangerous, why do you do it?”

I was not sure Jimmy fully knew the answer to that question himself, “Eh. It is where the job takes me. Look, it is dangerous everywhere in the world. Covering crime in Gotham. Superhero fights in Metropolis. Wherever. However, my camera shows the world what nobody else sees. Kids surviving in war zones. Families trying to escape fanaticism. Fanatics crazy enough to make Nazis look downright gentlemanly. The world won’t see any of it if people like me don’t go there.”

I had to admit that I was gaining a lot of respect for Jimmy Olsen. I had never thought about the rest of the world like that. To be honest, I had never really thought much of the world outside of Boston unless it affected Mike or myself. We sat there in silence for a long time as the sun continued to set. Jimmy’s words ran through my head more. I started thinking about Superman, and how he had so much power yet used it to save people. How all Superior Girl has done is use her powers for her own gratification regardless of whether it hurt or killed someone. Thinking back to Superior Girl, I wondered how things were going back at the Data Vault. Was she still there? While that vault did hold Lex’s secrets, it was staffed with people just trying to earn a paycheck. None of them went into the office thinking how they could be evil today.

Part of me wanted to take off into the sky and fly back there right now. I could protect those people from Superior Girl, or at least try. However, I knew that I was not ready. Taking on armed guards who can’t hurt me is one thing. Taking on a super powered being like Superior Girl would endanger more lives that save right now. Especially with my inexperience with these powers. My only hope is that Superior Girl does not go all psycho on the people inside. It seems doubtful. If she does, it only raises more questions for the news media to ask. If I am right, then Lex probably sent her there to stop whoever was trying to steal his files, and probably won’t want her hanging around and causing more of a scene.

The sun finally set with the night in full force in the sky. I could see some stars in the sky, but the lights from Dubai kept a lot of them hidden to normal eyes. Jimmy finished off the last beer that he had been working on. He reeled in his fishing line, and began packing up for the night. I almost laughed when I saw that his fishing lines did not have any hooks or bait on them. They were purely there to give the illusion of someone fishing. I could not help it, and giggled a bit.

“Lose your bait?”

Jimmy looked at his line, and laughed “Ha, sort of. I figured it best since I had no idea when you would arrive and in what condition. Last thing that I needed was to be trying to reel something in while trying to make a mad escape, or treat you for some wound from an exotic weapon hidden away in that building.”

I smiled at the comment, “Fair point. So, what’s for dinner then? Or do I need to blow my cover and fly back to shore for takeout?”

Jimmy got a big smile, “Got some burgers that we just need to heat up inside. Interested?”


Jimmy cleaned up the rest of his fishing gear, and closed up shop on the deck. I checked the anchor to make sure that was secure. He kept a few lights running so no one accidentally ran into us in the dark night. We then went into the cabin area to heat up our dinner and get ready for some sleep.

I had to ask, “Aren’t you afraid of pirates? Or some criminals coming to rob us tourists?”

Jimmy smiled as he spread his arms out, “Are you kidding? I have you here to protect me. Of course, I would love to see the look on some burglar’s face when you throw their boat onto the moon.”

I got a hearty laugh at his response, “Ha. So much for low profile.”

We had a good laugh while Jimmy warmed up our food. While I was tempted to show off and heat the burgers with my heat vision, I figured the use of my powers was best not done until I was sure that Superior Girl was gone from the area. For all I knew right now, she was slowly scanning the city to see if the hard drives were still around. The thought made me nervous, but I had to trust that Superman had taken steps with that case to keep them concealed. I can’t let my own paranoia cause me to become a target for Superior Girl. Just like Samuel L. Jackson said in Pulp Fiction, be cool just like little Fonzies.

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