- A Serialized Novel -

This isn't a superpower. It's a curse.

Meanwhile, on the Other Side of Somewhere…

Before you say it—technical difficulties.

And yeah, I know you think that I’m just saying that—I’m sure that Clayton would tell you that it’s what I always say. That’s not true. It’s not what you think. You think me and everyone else abandoned Clayton and April and left them in the hands of a mad man.

That’s what it looks like. That’s not the way it happened.

Yes, there were technical difficulties for part of it, but the rest… Now that was completely out of my hands. I dare someone to explain how we were supposed to come to the rescue at this point.

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He looked up at the suit. Whatever this was, there was no way it was good. He didn’t need to be a genius—though, generally speaking, he was—to know it was very bad. It was that look on the suit’s face. Clayton’s boss never looked like that when things were going well, and this was clearly a case of things going very badly. For everyone. “Uh, sir, I did try and design the comm units to be impervious to simple shock, and so while we have, in fact, lost communications with April and Clayton, that’s very temporary, I promise. Any minute now, it’ll cycle back on and we’ll be able to talk to them again. Trust me, we’re good.”

“That’s not it, Larabee.”

“You mean the tracking devices? Again, they are also resistant to electro shock. I made sure that they’d think that they were shut off for a little while, but they should start working soon. Admittedly, it’s taking just a bit longer than I hoped, but it should be up and running any second now.”

The suit sighed. “Larabee, we have to wait.”

“Wait? With Clayton and April in the hands of madmen? What could possibly be more important than this? We’re in the middle of something here.”

“There also happens to be a terrorist threat.”

“Um… Should I point out that it’s technically the other agency’s jurisdiction? Either of them? I mean, this is kind of theirs, too, so should I just call them instead? You did this on purpose, didn’t you? You deliberately tricked Clayton into letting himself be found because you want that bastard to experiment on him. You want Kilbourne to finish whatever it is he started, don’t you? You set this all up so that you could pull out at the last minute and strand them there. What about April? She’s just a civilian. Who knows what Kilbourne might do to her? Clayton might survive it because of what he is, but he’s not alone. And April is not like him. She’s smart and tough and even amazing, but she’s not genetically modified. She could end up really hurt.”

“No. It was never our intention to leave Moore in Kilbourne’s hands or to let his wife get involved in any of this—”

The suit’s words were drowned out in the explosion, and Larabee was knocked back as the ground shook. Something hit him, and then he felt water splattering his face. He forced himself up before it could start drowning him, looking at the now demolished surveillance van. “Guys? Anyone… in there? I kind of hope you’re not because that thing looks like a pretzel and not in a good way. Wait, there is no good way to look like a pretzel. I’ve been spending too much time with Clayton. Guys?”

Larabee heard a moan, but it wasn’t from anyone in the tangled wreckage that had once been a van. He moved over to the other side, finding the suit on the ground, bleeding and pinned down by a large chunk of concrete that used to be part of the road. Larabee winced. “Uh, sir…”

“Must have… must have set it up to make sure we couldn’t follow this time.”

“Yeah,” Larabee whispered, knowing he should have been in that van—and therefore dead—right now. The other agents were. He was pretty sure of that. “I don’t understand… Clayton’s power doesn’t even work right. How is it worth all this?”

The suit coughed. “Kilbourne’s insane, remember?”

“Sure, but… Look at you. You’re a mess. And them. They’re… Well…”

The suit shoved the block of concrete, yanking his leg out and tearing his suit more in the process. He coughed again and looked at Larabee with a frown. “How come none of your clothes tore?”

“They’re okay. They’re mostly spandex.”

The suit groaned and closed his eyes.

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