Amanda was exhausted.
The day that she had spent at Leanna's farm was a day of firsts. Never in her life had she gone into a chicken coop to get eggs, and if she had her way, she'd never go into another one. She had never realized how nasty chickens could be, until today. As she went around the coop gathering the eggs like she had been instructed, a large, red chicken had approached her, it's chest out and its wings back, squawking as it kicked at her with its surprisingly sharp talons. Fortunately, it backed off enough for her to get the eggs without much of an incident, because she didn't know what the older woman would do to her if she had slipped up and dropped one of the eggs...but she knew that whatever it was, it wouldn't have been good.
She had somewhat better luck with Shelly and Gwenyth, the two cows that she had been tasked with milking. It was a surprisingly easy job, once the two cows had decided to stand still in order to allow her to do the task. If Amanda hadn't known better, she would have suspected that the animals were secretly trying to test her somehow. Though, she knew that the very thought was ridiculous. The work was hard, and she knew that it was just the beginning of whatever was to come. She was just glad to be home now, and was looking forward to an evening in with Izzy, Gemma, and some friends. Whatever fresh hell awaited her in the morning would just have to wait until then.
Suddenly, the smell of Gemma's famous nacho casserole wafting down the hall brought her out of her quiet reverie. It had been hours since she had last eaten anything, and with her hyperactive metabolism her stomach was not just growling, it was roaring.
“Oh...that smells so good.
Amanda said as she watched Gemma take the dish out of the oven.
“Don't touch it.” Gemma replied, her tone mockingly snarky. “Company's coming. It'd be nice if they got some this time
“That happened once.” Amanda countered. “Okay, maybe twice.”
“Twice?” Gemma asked in an exaggerated tone.
“Okay, okay, three times.” Amanda conceded. Before Gemma could respond, the apartment's buzzer sounded, indicating that their guests had arrived.
“You gonna get that?” Gemma asked sternly, as she stood in front of the dish with her arms folded, almost daring her to make a move on the food. However, as Gemma and Amanda had their standoff in the kitchen, Izzy had opened the door for their friends.
“My God, what happened to your face?” Izzy's words echoed throughout the apartment, which caused Amanda and Gemma to make their way into the living room from the kitchen. When they arrived, they saw that Mike was sporting a black eye.
“Yeah Mike, what happened to your eye?” Gemma asked with a hint of concern. Then she began looking around the apartment and noticed that it was just Mike and Andy who had arrived. “Where's Karen?”
“Karen?” Mike asked. “Oh, that's a funny story. Karen won't be coming by today...or, like...ever.”
“What'd you do?” Amanda asked.
“Why'd it have to be something I did? Why couldn't it have been her?” Mike protested as Andy tried to hide a smirk.
“Because I know you.” Amanda said. “Seriously, what happened?”
“She decided that we're at different places in our lives and that it was better to call it quits.” Mike told his friends.
“Bullshit.” Andy chimed in. “Tell them what happened.” He finished while stifling a laugh.
“Fine.” Mike said, clearly annoyed.
“Well, Karen got her hair done, and let me tell you, it was hideous.” He started. “And when she asked me what I thought, what came to mind was, 'Honestly, it looks like you got caught in an explosion at the basic bitch factory.' However, what I said was, 'Baby, it looks gorgeous.'”
“So, what's the problem?” Amanda asked.
“The problem? The problem is that she knows me too well. She ignored what I said, and slapped the shit out my expression.” Mike told them.
“That's rough.” Gemma added.
Andy and Mike, along with Mike's now former girlfriend where friends of Gemma's from UC Pacific Point. She had met them while hanging out in the lounge in the Student Union and they had been pretty close ever since. Mike and Andy were the ultimate odd couple. Mike was a classic nerd. He was obsessed with comic books and playing roleplaying games. If there was a game of Dungeons and Dragons or Shadowrun anywhere on campus, it was more than likely that he was playing.
Andy on the other hand, while deep down was as much of a nerd as Mike, he was also a gifted basketball player, and had lead the UC Pacific Point Sharks to consecutive division titles and even a birth in the NCAA tournament. Though he and Mike seemed to be the last people on Earth who would associate with one another, they had become inseparable since freshman year. He was, in fact a bit of a chameleon, able to traverse effortlessly through multiple social groups, making it nearly impossible to peg him in one versus another.
“Well, why don't you guys come in and take a load off, we got a ton of food.” Amanda said she locked eyes with Gemma and mouthed “I'm getting that casserole,” with a grin.
Minerva Cross stood outside of Pacific Point's First National Bank. Her legs felt like jello and it felt as though she had a belly full of butterflies. She had never done anything like this before, and she really did not want to be doing it now, but she had no choice.
Up until the night that she got caught up in one of those meta domes during the Pax Metahumana crisis, she had been a normal twenty-something making her living working as an assistant in a real estate office. She hated her boss who was a lecherous man in his fifties who could be considered what her father used to call a snake oil salesman. Although she hated her job, and she died a little bit inside every single time that she went into the office, it paid the bills, barely. Even after she had been granted these powers, she tried to live a normal life. She had no intention of going out and becoming a criminal mastermind, and she had not desire to become a superhero. She just wanted to live her life, and be left alone.
However, that all changed last month when her boss, Greg came back to the office after a long lunch. He had an odd swagger about himself, which was probably due to the fact that he reeked of cheap booze. He had been somewhat aggressive with her, making comments about her clothes, and how she really should wear shorter skirts to work, as he explained,
“You'd be a lot more comfortable, this is Southern California after all.”
Although she found him repulsive, she could deal with the little comments. However, when he crossed the line by reaching up her skirt and grabbing her, she had had enough. She turned on him and slapped him across the face with as much force as she could muster. Then, she stood frozen in fear as he rubbed his face, which burned from the slap. Time stood still as he just stood there, looking down at the ground, his face began to turn several shades redder.
“That was a mistake.” He had said finally as he brought his eyes to bare on hers. Then he stepped toward, his arms outreached as he attempted to grab her.
As he reached for her, he was suddenly hit by a white light, the impact felt like a punch in the gut which lifted him up and flipped him over a nearby desk. And with that, panic set in.What have I done?
She thought to herself as different scenarios raced through her mind. What if I really hurt him?What if I killed him?
Then she saw him begin to move as he tried to get back to his feet, and decided that she did not to be there when he did, so she turned and ran.
She ran away from her office, and in doing so, she ran away from her life.
The following month was a difficult one for her. She had tried in vein to get a new job, however, her former boss, Greg Aleworth had done his best to smear her name all over the city. Despite being one of the most repulsive human beings that she had ever had the displeasure of encountering, he was well connected, and she had found herself essentially blackballed in the city, unable to find a job in any field, much less in real estate. In fact, she hadn't even been able to land a job flipping burgers in a fast food restaurant.
Here, a month after “giving her resignation,” she found her self with no money for food or rent. The only thing keeping her from being homeless was the cities renter protections, and the fact that it took months, and sometimes years for someone to be successfully evicted. That notwithstanding, Minerva was desperate.
And that is why she found herself standing outside of the First National Bank. Her stomach fluttered and her knees grew weaker by the second. She knew that she should just walk away now, she knew that it wasn't too late. However, she also knew that if she didn't do this , she faced another day of being hungry. If she didn't do this, she faced another day of uncertainty. She knew, that if she did not do this, she faced another day of fear. She took a deep breath to steel herself, and she made her way to the front doors of the bank. She closed her eyes and took another deep breath, forcing the butterflies from her stomach and she concentrated on what she had to do. Suddenly, an iridescent light begins to emanate from her hands. As the seconds passed, the light grew brighter and brighter, until it reached the point where it would have appeared that her hands were miniature spotlights. Then she pushed forward, and the doors of the bank exploded inward, clearing her path inside.
“So, I'd marry Iron Knight, screw Icon and kill Voyager.” Izzy said giggling.
“Iron Knight?” Amanda asked. “Why him?”
“Why not him? He's funny, and guessing by the amount of tech he's got, he's probably got more money than God. I mean, the guy must be Midas rich.” Izzy defended her choice in the infamous Marry, Screw, or Kill game that they had somehow found themselves playing. “So Amanda, you haven't weighed in at all. What say you?” Izzy asked, goading her roommate.
Amanda did not answer. She just sat on the coach between Andy and Mike shooting Izzy a look that screamed “How can you ask me to play this stupid game, I actually work with these guys...a lot.”
“Yeah Amanda, please, I'm dying to know.” Gemma chimed in.
“Well...I guess if I had to choose...” Amanda started.
“...the scene from the First National Bank on Bolsa Grande Avenue. As you can see, police have made little headway getting inside where the intruder has barricaded herself in the vault.”Saved by the bell.
Amanda thought to herself as she got up off of the couch.
“I just remembered, I have a meeting about a gig tonight. I should probably head out.” Amanda said as she made eye contact with Izzy and nodded toward the television.
“Oh right, was that tonight?” Izzy asked, playing along. “You should hurry, you don't want to be late.”
With that, Amanda jumped up and headed to the front door. Once she closed the door behind her, she zipped off down the road toward the First National Bank.
As Slipstream arrived at the scene of the break in at the First National Bank, she saw that the entire area had already been cordoned off by the police. They had set up a parameter of at least a couple of blocks in each direction around the bank, which meant that the thief had nowhere to run. And that would mean that in light of that, the thief would be desperate, which meant that they were dangerous.
Slipstream raced through the police line and up the stairs to the bank, a sudden burst of wind was the only indicator that she had been in the area. She searched the bank, racing from room to room, floor to floor searching for any potential hostages. She was also searching for potential threats. As she went room to room, she kept an eye out for anything that could pose a danger to her or any bystanders. Bombs, traps, and additional accomplices were all potential problems that she was keeping an eye out for, none of which materialized.
Once she had made sure that there were no hostages or other threats inside the bank, Slipstream made her way to the vault, where the intruder was said to be holed up. Once inside the vault, she found a young woman, probably close to her age throwing fistfulls of money into a pair of backpacks.
“You know, I'm pretty sure that you'll need a withdrawal slip for that.” Slipstream said as she leaned against the wall behind the woman.
The thief jumped, dropping one of the bags to the ground and spun around to face the new arrival.
“Back off. You can't stop me.” The woman said in an almost scalding tone.
“Yeah, I hear that a lot.” Slipstream said. “Why don't you just put the bags down and make this easy on yourself?”
“Not gonna happen.” The woman told her confidently.
Slipstream wasted no more time bantering with the woman. Instead, she rushed at the woman, throwing a right hook right at her chin. However, as she reached the woman, there was a flash of light and the punch connected with nothing but air.
“What?” Slipstream said, unable to believe that she had missed.
“I told you,” the woman said from behind her. Slipstream turned to face the woman, who thrust her hand forward, and a flash of blinding light came forth, and hit her like a freight train, sending Slipstream crashing through one of the massive columns which stood in the vault area, causing an explosion of plaster and debris.
Slipstream lay there amidst the wreckage of the destroyed column, the woman's attack had left her dazed, however, she had more fight left in her. Unfortunately, as she got to her feet, she realized that the woman was gone. Then, the pain in her back and ribs...and everywhere else overcame her and she went back down to one knee to catch her breath.
“Yeah...I'm definitely not telling Leanna about this.”