“We are Muscle,” a woman shouted at everyone in a bank lobby. For a moment no one took notice. The pale woman sighed and punched the ground. The impact rippled forward through the room. A craggy line divided the bank in two. Everyone took notice and fled. Some out the door, most to the sides and desks and wherever they could to get away from the threat. The woman, Flex, snapped her fingers. The volume of the snap conveyed the size of the muscles behind them. A small black woman appeared next to her.
Flex reached into the fanny pack around her waist and produced some zip ties. “Tie ‘em up.”
“Why me? Relax could do it.”
“You forget who’s in charge here?”
Twitch roller her eyes. Flex’s hair blew around as Twitch dis and re appeared.
“See, that wasn’t too hard.”
Twitch ran to the glass doors and took a look outside before returning a moment later. “Where is Lax anyways?”
“You check every room for potential heroes?”
Twitch sighed but disappeared again. A second later she skidded to a stop in front of Flex. “But really, where is she?”
“If you had listened to the plan, you would know.”
“You know I can’t keep focused for that long.”
“I know.” Flex tousled Twitch’s hair. “Now, take care of the cameras.”
“I did that earlier.”
“So you can do your job sometimes.”
Twitch was about to say something, but Flex held up a hand to silence her. Flex watched the crack in the ground she had created with her punch. A small patch of the dust and rubble shifted. She kicked away the debris and spotted it: a finger poked up through the ground. She grabbed it and pulled. The finger stretched as she pulled, but then it stopped. She continued to pull and for a moment seemed to have no effect. Then the ground shook and the crack widened. The length of the rupture filled with more skin still attached to the finger Flex pulled.
“Rope up.” All the skin save for the finger she held onto slipped below. The finger she held, once taut, went slack. “Do the honors?” Flex offered the finger rope to Twitch. Twitch shuddered, but took the finger and in an instant had it and more of the seemingly endless length tied around Flex. “See you on the street.” Twitch disappeared. Flex crouched, took a deep breath, and jumped.
The rope wrapped around her body stretched and lagged behind her, but eventually, it followed, and with it, the safe from the basement of the bank. The floor erupted as the once secure room burst from beneath. Everyone in the bank watched as the heavy room covered in a thin layer of the skin followed the woman through the small hole she had created on the roof. The safe widened the hole.
Flex landed on the roof and watched the safe and her companion wrapped around it pass her by. When it reached the top of its arc, she tugged on Relax and shifted the trajectory, then she hopped onto the top side as it plummeted to the street. It crushed a car and opened a vein of the city’s water. Sirens sounded in the distance.
Twitch appeared next to her as she stepped off the safe.
“Clear shot,” Twitch offered.
“Hope so.” Flex cracked her neck. “You still holding up, Relax?”
A mouth slithered up the finger rope. “Yup.”
Twitch shuddered. “That will never not creep me out.”
The mouth laughed as it floated back towards the safe and then out of sight.
“Slack,” yelled Flex. The rope around her wilted and she ran away from the safe. She sprinted down the street and the rope snaked after her. Gradually the rope pulled taut and once Flex felt it starting to tug she yelled, “Tighten.” Flex twisted around to get a grip on the rope and pulled against it as it threatened to pull her back. She won this mini tug of war. Like a slingshot, the skin wrapped around the safe flew towards Flex. Flex planted her feet and let the safe come towards her. She stared it down like a pitch coming in fast and then she swung. She was aiming up for a home run. It launched into the sky and away. Flex braced for impact and the still attached skin rope pulled her away.
Relax reeled her in and soon she rode the safe along with Twitch already perched on top. Her goggles usually only down for when she ran, were down to face the high wind speeds. She noticed flex and flashed her a thumbs-up. Flex stood. Relax molded around her feet so she wouldn’t fall. Relax’s facial features floated between the two of them.“Looking good?”
“No trouble yet.”
“Speaking of trouble.” A voice from beside the safe spoke. The man known as Sunbeam flew beside them in the air. “We doing this the easy way or the hard way?”
“I only know one way.” Flex cracked her knuckles.
“Behind!” yelled Twitch.
Flex ducked without looking behind her. A figure zoomed over her and tackled the first flyer. They tumbled through the air.
“They must have beef.” Twitch shrugged. “Good for us, right?”
Flex spotted another flyer in the distance. “Looks like they’re out in full force today.” She crouched.
“What’s the plan?” Twitch asked.
Flex untied the finger rope and let it fall from her.“Catch me?” Flex tapped the skin around her feet. It released. She jumped. “Chute.”
The extra long finger Flex discarded shaped itself from a rope into a sheet. The wind caught the sheet and filled it, slowing its descent. Twitch grabbed a bit of the newly created parachute and pulled at the edges effectively piloting the safe and Relax through the sky. Flex smashed into the oncoming flyer and they tumbled away from the safe. Twitch piloted towards them, but the safe fell slower than Flex and her enemy. Twitch tugged at some of Relax and a new rope followed her pull. She fastened the new skin rope around her and ran off of the side towards Flex. She jumped and with her speed was able to reach her target. She grabbed Flex and they fell in an arc back towards and underneath the safe. The new flying hero with them as Flex continued to punch his face.
“Let go,” Twitch yelled.
Flex dropped the hero and he fell while Flex and Twitch continued to oscillate beneath Relax.
The hanging duo watched as a few more flyers approached. Five arrived at the same time and surrounded them.
“We have you surrounded,” announced a hero known as the Southwest Sentinel.
“Very good. I would applaud but we have our hands full at the moment.”
The super known as Flight Knight sighed from inside his suit of armor. “So many people waste time on idle banter when we should be vanquishing our foes.”
“Well, some people like to have a little joy in their lives,” said Silver Streak.
“We have a task at hand.” Flight Knight waved his sword towards the bank robbers.
“And we’re doing it,” growled Super-Bear. “As Sentinel said, we have them surrounded.”
Twitch tugged on the rope and it started lifting them back to the safe.
“Can I take a second to say how dumb it is to say we have them surrounded?” King Art looked around at everyone to see if he had a consensus on his question. “I mean, it should be evident that we have them surrounded. We don’t need to say it.”
“You are a disgrace to the title of king,” said Flight Knight
“And I hate your whole thing,” continued King Art, “Is it supposed to be a time travel thing? It’s insufferable.”
“We should not quarrel right now. This is a big moment for my career. Also, don’t call me Sentinel again, that’s someone else.”
Flex and Twitch climbed to the top of the safe and away from the arguing heroes only to be greeted with another.
“Amy. What a surprise. Aren’t we a bit too low on the ladder for you?”
Amy had her arms crossed. Her toes floated just above the fleshy surface coating the safe. Her cape and hair billowed in the wind.
“You got a new team? Didn’t expect so many flyers.”
“We’re trying out a new thing.”
“Well keep trying. This one didn’t seem to work out so well.”
“You’re still caught. That’s all that matters.”
The five flyers from before realized what had happened and floated up to the top side of the safe. Amy didn’t look at them as she spoke. “If I were any of you I wouldn’t want to be heard or seen by me.” They flew away.
“Where were we? You mentioned something about catch?” Twitch tapped her toes.
The parachute crumpled around the duo of Twitch and Flex and the skin retracted from the safe wrapping them in a ball of Reflex. The safe dropped. Amy followed the safe and lost track of the human-sized bouncy ball that went the other way. Without much effort, Amy positioned herself underneath the safe and stopped it from crushing the people in the street below. They cheered as Amy set the room down on the street. Amy smiled and shook hands. She greeted the police when they showed up. She carried the safe back to the bank from which it had originated. She scowled when they opened the safe to find the contents missing.
“Let’s review what all went wrong then.” Cyberwolf sat across from Amy Dangerous.
“Let’s start with coordination.”
“We had a ground team too slow on the uptake and when we realized they were airborne we sent the flyers.”
“They don’t have the synergy of us though.”
“We can’t expect them to have the same level of synergy out of the gate.” Ichaival gurgled.
“How can we ever expect them to have that level of synergy when the teams are built on the fly?”
Cyberwolf typed on a laptop in front of him. “Perhaps I can start building up personality matrices and only call based on known existing teamwork skills and when the call is put out only have the—”
“Speaking of the call. Why did we have that many flyers show up anyway?”
“It’s too slow.”
“Well,” Cyberwolf tapped a button. “At three forty-two and fifteen seconds I sent out the response call. Anyone nearby or with speed to reach the area got a ping. At three forty-two and thirty-seven seconds, the systems quota was filled for the level of the event.”
“Why was the quota so high then?”
“I didn’t finish. It had filled the quota three times over.”
“Just the limits of technology. When half of these people can move so fast, they can answer before the wireless signal can get back to tell them no.”
“Can you make the system faster?”
“By making it wired. And that kind of defeats the point.” Cyberwolf chuckled. “Even then people would still be too fast for it to keep up.”
Amy sighed. She stood up and walked away from the conference table. She looked across the city from their tower view. “Your thoughts Ichaival?”
Ichaival made a sound neither of them recognized and their faces showed this fact. “That was a laugh,” Ichaival thought at them. “We can barely organize the six of us sometimes. The Kraken is the same and we’re only seven. Unless we happen to someone with the power of logistics, I think it’s doomed even with Cyber’s excellent programming skills.”
Cyberwolf shrugged. “Yeah, it may just be too much.”
“I was hoping this would work.” Amy flew back to the table. “I guess we shut it down then. I’m going to make Thunderfist tell everyone though. I can’t even imagine the pandemonium when we tell everyone they’re not really in Aegis anymore.”
The three of them laughed.