Sapphire Angel – Beginnings (Chapters 30-31)

Written by CJS :: [Thursday, 15 August 2019 20:40] Last updated by :: [Friday, 23 August 2019 23:58]

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Chapter 30

“So they got you, too, huh?” said a voice from her right. Sapphire Angel turned and saw Dirk O’Shea looking at her from the adjacent cell. He wore the same amused grin on his face she had seen earlier, as Beth. “The local TV station made you out to be invincible.”

Sapphire Angel frowned.

“It’s my fault,” Ethan interrupted. “She had to surrender because of me.”

“Just a temporary setback,” she said, fighting down the annoyance in her voice. To her surprise, the costumed woman didn’t like O’Shea doubting her.

“Hey!” Jerry barked at them from outside the stalls. “Shut up in there!”

O’Shea glanced at the man and gave a dismissive wave.

“Ignore him,” O’Shea said to her and Ethan. “Based on my short time here, he’s all talk. He won’t do anything.”

Sapphire Angel raised an eyebrow. Perhaps Jerry was a blowhard when it came to violence, but he hadn’t been shy about touching her a few minutes earlier.

“What are we going to do?” Ethan asked, looking at the heroine with wide eyes. She pushed aside the strange feeling she got from his inability to recognize her.

“I can see how strong these handcuffs are, and then test the cell door,” she said. “They certainly didn’t look new. But I need someone to distract Jerry.”

“Give me a second,” Ethan said, with eagerness in his voice. He moved to the edge of the cell, near Tom and Nicole. He said a few quiet words to Nicole and sat down.

“What’s he doing?” Sapphire Angel asked O’Shea.

“I’m not sure,” O’Shea replied. “I think we’ll find out.”

She nodded, but said nothing.

“So are the news reports true?” O’Shea asked. “Are you everything they say? The local stations, papers, and websites are in love, but the national media hasn’t bought it yet. From what I can tell, they seem to think you’re a hoax, cooked up to get ratings or clicks.”

“Do I look like a hoax?” the heroine asked, raising an eyebrow at him.

“You look quite real, but I don’t know what you can do yet. All I’ve seen is you hauled in here in handcuffs.”

Sapphire Angel frowned. “You’ll get your chance to see for yourself, when I don’t have to risk putting others in danger.”

O’Shea nodded, and they sat in silence until Ethan rose from his position on the other side of the cell. He returned to the costumed woman’s side.

“What was that all about?” she asked.

“This might take a few minutes,” Ethan said, staring at her in apparent fascination, but turning away when her stunning blue eyes met his. His voice shook as if he were nervous, like a man meeting an athlete or singer he’d idolized his entire life. “I told that woman what we needed. But I suggested she wait so this wouldn’t be obvious.”

“So what wouldn’t be obvious?” Sapphire Angel asked. “I don’t want her doing anything that could put her in danger.”

“I… think she should be okay,” Ethan said. “Give it a minute.”

“She’ll be fine,” O’Shea said. “As I said, our guard is timid.”

Ethan turned O’Shea’s way when the other man spoke, but continued to cast discreet glances back at the beautiful blond heroine. His eyes wandered from her toned legs, up to her skirt and thin waist, to her firm breasts, and to her angelic face. He turned back to her.

“Where did you come from?” Ethan asked, his voice cracking. He cleared his throat. “Someone like you doesn’t just show up out of nowhere. Where have you been until now?”

“It’s complicated,” Sapphire Angel replied. As she met Ethan’s eyes, he again looked away nervously. She had never known him to lack confidence, but her presence unsettled him.

“That’s an understatement,” Ethan answered, glancing back up at her. “A girl like you with powers like you have? It’s like you were dropped from the heavens.”

She gave a thin smile, but said nothing. This might get uncomfortable. Her deceased boyfriend’s best friend was fascinated with her. The blond bombshell turned from Ethan to look in Jerry’s direction. She stood, hands on her hips, facing the man but watching Nicole out of the corner of her eyes and also sensing Ethan’s furtive glances cast her way. He had at least turned so he wasn’t staring at her.

Perhaps Sapphire Angel should try to break the handcuffs now, before Nicole placed herself in danger. If the heroine freed her hands, what could Jerry do, really? He was no match for her. But she remembered Vince using Ethan as a hostage. Was she up to calling Jerry’s bluff if he tried to do the same? Or could she get to him in time?

As Sapphire Angel agonized over her decision, Nicole lingered in place. She was too close to the heroine’s cell to provide much of a distraction, regardless of what the woman had planned.

Just as Sapphire Angel resolved to act, Nicole moved across her cell and said something to the female prisoner on the other side. Moments later, Nicole’s voice raised in a scream at the woman.

“You bitch!” Nicole hollered.

“I’m sick of your bullshit!” the other prisoner yelled back.

And then it was on. The two women’s yells echoed off the low ceiling, and they reached through the bars, clutching at each other. They clawed, grappled, and scratched through the bars, screaming the entire time.

“Shut the fuck up!” Jerry yelled, and Sapphire Angel tensed. This could be enough to distract the man.

But Jerry took one step toward the screaming women and moved no further. As their shouting continued, the heroine waited for him to advance closer to the women. He stood still. Either he didn‘t care if the women tore each other apart, or the ruse had been too obvious. Sapphire Angel‘s shoulders sagged.

As Jerry remained rooted in place, the blond woman balled her fists. He was still too close to her cell, but it didn‘t matter. She might not get another chance. Perhaps the noise from the screaming women would be enough.

Sapphire Angel tightened her muscles and pulled her wrists apart. Her progress stopped when the small chain between the cuffs grew taut. She gritted her teeth as the cuffs dug into her wrists, but her gloves protected her from any damage. She closed her eyes and focused. She wouldn’t give up now.

Reaching deep within herself, she pulled harder. A moment later the chain between the cuffs snapped, and her hands flew apart. She had done it. The heroine glanced down and noticed rust in the chains dangling from the cuffs, but that didn’t diminish her pride at her accomplishment.

O’Shea let out a low whistle, and Ethan murmured, “Holy crap.” Sapphire Angel fought back a smile as she rushed to the door of the stall. Jerry hadn’t looked her way yet.

She bent down, examining the lock, all too aware of the way Ethan and O’Shea were staring from behind at the way her body moved as she bent. The lock didn’t appear to be in much better shape than the handcuffs. Apparently, their captors hadn’t planned on holding someone with superhuman strength.

She focused her gaze on the lock as she reared a foot back. With Ethan and O’Shea watching, she lashed out, landing a solid kick to the door, just to the side of the lock. The lock snapped, and the door flew open.

With a swear, Jerry whirled. His eyes grew wide as Sapphire Angel leapt at him, closing the distance in a blur. She came down with a punch, worried less about seriously hurting him, and more about rendering him unable to call for help. Her fist crashed into his jaw, sending him twirling away.

He lay on the ground, palms scrabbling out in front of him, shaking his head and trying to push himself up. He never got the chance. The costumed woman was on him again, as the toe of her boot connected with his chin and flipped him onto his back. He didn’t move. Sapphire Angel bent down next to him, feeling for a pulse and breathing in relief when she found one.

Without hesitating, she rose and darted to the hook by the door. She found not only the lock to the cell but also the lock to her handcuffs, which hung broken from her wrists. She came back to the cell and handed the cell key to Ethan, before removing the cuffs from her wrists.

“Unlock the other cells,” she directed. “And then lead everyone to the woods behind this building.”

“What are you going to do?” Ethan asked.

“I’ll be guarding the door while you get everyone out. But once you’re clear of this place, I have some unfinished business to take care of. Get moving.”

After a quick glance up and down the body of the stunning woman, Ethan rushed to the other cells. He started with O’Shea’s cell, as Sapphire Angel moved to the building’s door. She opened it a crack to peak out, and saw two men in the area between the building and the farmhouse.

One of them took steps in the building's direction. Sapphire Angel froze. Not yet, she thought. If he arrived too soon, the prisoners in the cells would be sitting ducks if the man wanted to use his firearm. But he kept coming.

Gritting her teeth, she turned to see that the prisoners were now out of the cells. They would still be in danger, though, if the guard came to the building before they made it to the woods.

“I’m going out,” she said to Ethan and O’Shea. “There are two guards out there I need to keep busy. Once you see them go down, get these people into the woods behind the building and keep going. Move as quickly as you can.”

She didn’t wait for an answer, but flung the door open and leapt forward toward the approaching guard. His eyes opened in shock and he raised his weapon, but he was too slow. Sapphire Angel’s leap brought her close to him, and she swung down with a fist into his face.

The heroine didn’t even check to make sure he was out of the fight, knowing she had hit him hard enough for there to be no question. Instead, she hurtled herself toward the other guard, who was closer to the house and just realizing her presence. She landed a few feet from him and lashed out with a kick. The sole of her boot connected with his chest, launching him backward as his weapon dropped to the ground.

She followed as he stumbled back, jumping to his side and swinging down into his face with a blow that slumped him to the ground. Sapphire Angel spun about, but saw no more guards.

As she turned back toward the building, she saw Ethan and O’Shea leading the other prisoners out the door and around the building. The costumed woman watched until they reached the woods in the back and disappeared from view.

It was time to clean this place up. At least nine men had been at the farm, including the four inside the home. The two men on the ground were out of the fight, and Jerry wouldn’t be joining the fight any time soon. She couldn‘t be sure if the four men in the house were still down. Sapphire Angel made a mental note for the future to figure out a way to restrain her opponents after she defeated them, so they couldn’t rejoin a fight.

That meant she had at least two more guards to handle, and possibly several more. They could have help on the way, too, if they had summoned it.

She set off around the front corner of the home and immediately came upon two more guards. Her reaction time was faster than theirs, and a quick series of punches to their faces sent them to the ground before they even realized what had hit them. A smile crept across her face. This was actually kind of fun. Her small amount of self-defense training was coming back to her, but she was mostly acting out of instincts she didn't know she had.

Her smile disappeared when a series of gunshots rang out from behind her. She felt a sequence of slight bumps on her back, as if a baby had tapped her with its fingers. She knew the feeling - bullets had rebounded away from her.

She whirled to spot three more men, who must have rounded the corner behind her. Two of the men were of average build, but the third was huge. Torn shirt sleeves accommodated his massive biceps, and he stood a foot taller than the other two, who flanked him on each side. Bushy red hair covered his pale, pockmarked face.

Sapphire Angel made a quick calculation. She needed to take the two smaller men out first, so she could focus on the large brute. She sprang forward, directly at the large man, but stopped short, out of his reach, and redirected with a whirling punch toward the man to his left. Her punch smashed into his jaw, sending him twirling away from her into the grass.

As a punch from the large man whizzed past her head, she sprang back and then forward again, dodging past the large man and landing a punch to the face of the other smaller man. He, too, dropped to the ground.

But now the large man was on her. This time she didn’t spring away in time, as one of his meaty paws smashed into the side of her face and sent her spinning down to her hands and knees. The power of her necklace lessened the blow, but the massive blow still dazed her. As she gathered her senses, the toe of his boot smashed into the side of her head, flipping her into the side of the house. Her back hit first, and then her head whipped back, thudding against the wall.

As she attempted to gain her bearings and push herself away from the building, the palm of one of her attacker’s meaty hands shot forward, smacking Sapphire Angel’s forehead and bouncing her head off the wall once again. She groaned and dropped to the ground, stunned. The costumed heroine rested on her hands and knees, disoriented, with her hair dangling in her face. A moment later she gasped as her attacker slipped one hand just inside the v-shaped opening at the back of her costume, grabbing a fistful of spandex. His other hand grabbed a tight fistful of her skirt, before he heaved her up so she dangled facedown in front of him.

The dazed superwoman shook her head, trying to shake off the cobwebs, as she swayed in his grasp. Before she could gather her wits, his knee swung up and drilled her midsection. She grunted as air burst from her lungs. He repeated the effort a second time, and a third, leaving her fighting for air as her arms, legs, and head dangled weakly toward the ground. Sapphire Angel couldn’t breathe, let alone mount a counterattack.

The brute released his hold, and the battered superheroine dropped from his grasp. Her arms hit the ground first but collapsed under her, unable to break her fall. She landed on her stomach with a grunt, just as the brute’s foot crashed down into the small of her back, like a sledgehammer pounding her into the ground. She opened her mouth in a cry of pain, but only a wheeze came out. Another foot slammed into her back, and a third, as the behemoth put all his weight into one blow after another. The next kick nailed the side of her head, flipping the smaller woman over in the air. She smacked into the ground, face down again.

She pawed weakly at the ground, letting out a whimper as she tried to push herself up. At least her breath was returning, but her attacker didn’t give her a chance to gather herself. One of his meaty hands seized her thigh, completely encircling it, while his other hand wrapped around her slender neck. She let out a half-moan, half-yelp as he jerked her petite body into the air, hoisting her above his head. He roared in triumph.

The pummeled superheroine dangled in his viselike grasp, dazed and helpless, with her arms, skirt, and hair dangling below her. Her eyes began to close as the hand around her throat squeezed, but the jostling of his steps brought her back to attention. She looked down at the ground and grabbed for the hand at her throat, trying to pry it free, but in her stunned and weakened state, her meager efforts were futile.  As he walked with her above his head, holding her like a trophy, she actually took a moment to ponder her situation. She didn’t feel like a heroine, but like a girl with little training in combat, who was in over her head.

Sapphire Angel groaned and turned her head, and through the bouncing of her body and the hair hanging in her face, she saw his intended destination. Her eyes opened wide. A rusted piece of farm machinery sat near the barn, its rusted metal blades beckoning.  He marched toward it. He wasn’t trying to defeat her, or even humiliate her. He was trying to kill her.

“End of the road, superheroine,” he said with a snarl, picking up speed and closing the remaining distance.

The sight of her approaching demise sent a jolt of adrenaline rushing through her. Time slowed down and Sapphire Angel thought of John. This man, in some way, was involved in John’s death. She couldn’t let him win. Her senses came back to her quicker than should have been possible, as the man stopped near the machine.

He reared back as he prepared to throw her into the blades. He flung his arms forward and let out a guttural yell, launching her slender body through the air. She flew forward, but stopped in midair as her hands lashed out, grabbing his wrists. For a split second, they looked like figure skating partners. He stood straight and tall, his arms extended above him. Her lithe body extended straight out, their arms locked by her grip on his wrists.

Sapphire Angel swung her legs down, and as her feet hit the ground she used her grip to pull him toward her. Surprised, he couldn’t block her blow as the heroine raised an elbow to meet his oncoming face. He staggered away from her as she released her hold, clutching a nose that was surely broken.

“You fucking bitch,” he snarled, closing the distance with one step and coming toward the small woman with a thundering punch.

This time Sapphire Angel was ready. Except she didn’t avoid the blow, instead she reached up with her left hand, purely out of instinct, and catching his fist in her palm. His eyes opened wide in shock as his punch traveled an inch or two further before stopping. Her free hand lashed out, drilling one punch into his face, and then a second, as she used her grip to hold him in place. Before he could even raise his free arm, she had landed three more punches to his face. His knees sagged, and two punches later he collapsed to the ground.

Sapphire Angel bent down, seizing his calf and neck. She flexed her knees and lifted him over her head. To an observer, it would have seemed impossible, or a trick of the light. A petite girl in a shimmering costume, who didn’t even strain with exertion, was holding a giant of a man above her head. She turned toward the machinery.

“Your turn,” she said.

“No…” he pleaded, but couldn’t break free. She heaved.

She didn’t aim for the machine, but the wall of the barn. He flew through the air at a speed that should have been impossible, hitting the wall with a massive thud. The behemoth bounced off and slammed into the ground, where he lay unmoving.

Sapphire Angel took a breath and rubbed her forehead. She looked about, but no more attackers came. She had prevailed after a brutal fight.

The heroine had only a moment to savor her victory, as she heard the wail of sirens in the distance, getting closer. The cavalry was on the way, it seemed, albeit too late to join the action. She didn’t know how they had located or even learned of the farm - Stanley perhaps - but she was happy to leave the cleaning up to them.

Sapphire Angel wouldn’t be talking to the police, she decided.  She wasn’t ready for such a public appearance, and she doubted they were ready, either. She had no idea how law enforcement would react to someone like her. They surely weren’t accustomed to someone like her. It was time for Beth Harper to reappear.


Chapter 31

Once back inside the farmhouse, it only took Beth a few minutes to complete the change out of her costume. She was getting accustomed to the process. The men from the house were gone, meaning she could change in private, but also meaning they had slipped away.

When she returned to the front porch of the house with her costume safely tucked away in her bag, she saw Stanley in the grass area between the buildings. He was flanked by three state troopers. Several other troopers moved about the barnyard securing men she had defeated as Sapphire Angel.

“Beth!” Stanley exclaimed upon seeing her.

She descended the steps and he rushed to her, enveloping her in a fatherly hug.

“You’re okay!” he exclaimed, the relief clear on his face. The troopers edged up behind him.

“Thanks to Sapphire Angel, yes,” she replied. She figured her alter ego’s presence at the farm might come out at some point.

“Sapphire Angel?” one trooper asked. He was thin and tall, with a face dominated by a long, narrow nose. “Ma’am, I’m Corporal Bell. Did you say Sapphire Angel was here?”

Beth tensed and hoped the corporal didn’t notice a change in her demeanor. She tried to keep a neutral expression.

“Yes, she was. I was being held prisoner in the house. I heard a commotion, and then she came in and freed me and told me to stay hidden. I did, except for a brief peak to see some prisoners make a break for the woods. I came out when I heard your sirens.”

Beth watched the man, half expecting him to laugh at her attempt to conceal her secret. But the corporal only frowned.

“Where is she now?” he asked.

Beth shrugged. “I was hiding inside. I don‘t know.”

The man frowned again before nodding. His attention was diverted by the approach of two other troopers. He turned to face them.

“We found five men unconscious,” a female trooper said. “Rough looking types, including one giant, who look like they ended up on the wrong end of a fight. One of them started waking up, and muttered something about the leggy blonde in blue.”

Beth bit back a smile.

“We also found people wandering out in the woods behind the outbuilding, lost,” the trooper continued. “They claim they were held prisoner in the outbuilding, and that the rough-looking guys were guards. They say the guards were probably taken down by Sapphire Angel.”

“Are the prisoners healthy?” the corporal asked.

“Some of them are scrawny and pale, but it doesn’t seem to be too bad. But they said if Sapphire Angel hadn't come, it could have gotten much worse. They said some other prisoners disappeared during their stay and never returned.”

The corporal rubbed his chin and appeared to be in thought.

“Call in some ambulances,” he said. “While we’re waiting on them, follow protocol and get everyone separated. Have them identify each other. That will put their stories to the test, and let us sort out who is a prisoner and who we need to lock up.”

“Yes, sir. I suspect the interviews will verify what appearances suggest. The ones claiming to be prisoners are a bit haggard and hungry looking, while the other guys look like they fought ten rounds with a gorilla.”

The corporal let out a soft, long whistle and shook his head in disbelief.

“The work of one woman?” he pondered aloud, before speaking to the trooper again. “Get started, but tell someone else to notify the closest hospitals that they’ll have their hands full soon. Everyone will go there, and nobody leaves until we’re sure who is who.”

“Yes sir,” the woman said, and turned back toward the barn. Beyond her and to the right, Beth recognized five troopers leading a group of the prisoners from the woods. Her eyes darted from person to person. She counted nine. Among them she saw Craig O’Shea, and a few other faces she had seen in the pen. There was no sign of Ethan.

“Not everyone is here, Trooper,” Beth said, her voice rising, as she nodded toward the former prisoners. She felt a pit in her stomach. “I only count nine. There were more headed into the woods when I peaked out.”

He turned and looked toward the prisoners.

“Maybe there are more lost out there. Or maybe we didn’t get all the guards,” he said with a frown. “How many were there?”

“Guards?” Beth asked, her mind churning as she tried to count how many she reasonably could have seen as Beth. The whole secret identity thing was harder than she expected. “I saw maybe five, but there were probably more.”

“It’s possible some slipped away. We didn’t have the manpower to set up a proper perimeter.”

“You think they took prisoners with them?” Beth asked, balling her fists at her side.

“It wouldn’t be the first time a desperate criminal took hostages to use as a bargaining chip. So it's possible.”

Possible, yes, Beth thought. More likely, though, was Dominick’s men had taken prisoners for the same reason they had brought prisoners here. But what was that reason? If Ethan wasn’t here, he might find out soon enough.

 

 

“So who is this girl? What is her real name?” the man with silver eyes asked Dominick from the back seat of the car, as the wooded countryside flew by.

Dominick glanced over at the man. At first he thought the man knew the answer and was testing Dominick’s knowledge. After all, the robed man seemed familiar with Sapphire Angel. But then Dominick noticed something in those silver eyes he hadn’t seen before. An eagerness. For some reason, the costumed woman’s identity was very important to him. That meant Dominick could use the information as leverage.

“In due time,” the Fizzure CEO said. “When all the terms have been satisfied, and our goal reached, I will provide you with her name.”

The other man’s jaw tightened. Another reaction he hadn’t previously shown.

“You don’t want to cross me, Demarco. Remember what you are trying to gain through this project. Something very personal to you. It would be a shame if the project were a success, but you and your family didn’t get to enjoy the benefits.”

The stare he bore down on Dominick was interrupted by sirens coming up fast from behind them. Dominick’s driver eased onto the shoulder. Moments later four ambulances blew past the vehicle, sirens blaring and light bars flashing, headed in the farm's direction. Dominick tightened his grip on the door armrest, sinking his fingers into the plush leather. He could feel the man next to him staring at him with his silver eyes.

Dominick pulled his briefcase across the seat and opened it, revealing six identical mobile phones. He pulled one out and dialed a number. It went right to a generic voicemail message. He tried a second number. Another voicemail message.

On the third call, a gruff voice answered.

“Yes… sir,” a man’s voice said. He was breathing heavily, as if he were running.

“What’s going on?” Dominick snapped.

“Police are swarming all over the farm,” the man said.

“I figured that!” Dominick snapped. “Why?”

“I dunno for sure how they found us. But Sapphire Angel showed up and took out pretty much all of us. The prisoners got free, probably thanks to her. Then the sirens started, and me, Colby, and Frank hightailed it out of there. Some of the other guys may be wandering out there, too. We ran into some prisoners roaming around, lost. We have them. We’re going cross-country right now. Hoping the cops don’t have dogs.”

Dominick’s grip on the phone tightened.

“How many prisoners do you have with you?”

“Three. Well, two, plus one new guy we found. About the age you’ve wanted.”

“Keep him and the other two and get clear of the area. Once you are sure - 100% sure - that nobody followed you, get to the safe house with the prisoners. I’ll have somebody pick you up who knows the location of the backup facility.”

Without waiting for a reply, Dominick ended the call. He took a deep breath and detached the back of the phone, before removing the battery.

“What was that about?” the man with the silver eyes asked him.

“The girl got loose. Took out my men. And apparently that’s where the police are headed.”

“Not good, Demarco. I overestimated your ability to meet our goals.”

“I still have enough to see this to its conclusion. We have three prisoners. That will be enough to finish the job.”

“No,” the other man said, shaking his head. “From all you’ve demonstrated, the chances of that appear to be slim. The cat is out of the bag this time. You’re a fugitive now, wanted for kidnapping, and eventually more. You can hide but they might find you. It’s too late. It’s time to shut this down.”

“No!” Dominick snapped. “We just finished moving everything from the headquarters to a backup location. I told nobody about it. Even my men just learned of it, when they moved our equipment there. And that was just a few of them. By the time the police find me, we’ll be done, and I’ll have saved my daughter. They can haul me off to jail then.”

“Jail? That’s what you think will happen to you? Don’t they kill murders here? Pump them full of primitive chemicals?”

“A price I’m willing to pay. After we finish this.”

“You can’t finish this. I told you there can be no trace left behind of what you’re doing. The police, and Sapphire Angel, are getting close. Too close. End this now.”

Dominick glanced over at the man, but looked down to avert those damn eyes. “I’m going to take you back to the place you're staying,” he began, “and I’m finishing this project. You know how close we are. Don’t interfere, and you have my word I will give you the identity of Sapphire Angel.”

The silver eyes flared, only briefly. The robed man turned to look out the window, in thought, before looking back and giving a slow nod.

“Very well. See if you can finish this tonight. And if Sapphire Angel interferes again, I have something for you to try,” the silver-eyed man said, as he reached a hand into his robe and came out with a large folded piece of paper. “Try modifying the device’s reactor profile on the third alternate flow, as I’ve sketched out here. Your lead man will understand. If she shows up, switch over to it.”

“What will that do?”

“If she is what I think, it may very well neutralize her powers. She'll be a normal girl. Helpless.”

“You’re positive it will work?”

“No, I’m not. I can’t be sure I’m right about her. And even if I am, one slight error in those calculations, or in the implementation by your people, could make it all go wrong. It could even make her stronger.”

“Wonderful,” Dominick grumbled. But he supposed it was worth the risk. “Even if it works, do we really want to take her powers? Don't we want to use them?”

“The power loss will be temporary. Plenty long enough for you to defeat her and secure her. Then you'll be able to use her as needed.”

He said no more as he handed the paper over to Dominick, before looking out the side window at the trees whizzing past. Dominick glanced down at the paper. It was filled with numbers, sketches, scrawled comments, and equations. This was something his scientists would need to digest.

“Please return to Mechanicsburg, where this man is staying” Dominick said to his driver.