Two Days Later:
A young woman floated high above the city. Her costume glowed silver in the moonlight as she searched the streets below. She had been after this particular jaunter for two months now. He had been robbing vaults, safes, and galleries for over a year, and the only reason anyone knew it was him was the elephant he had spray-painted in every building he had broken into.
He never set off alarms, never left any fingerprints, and never got caught on any camera. At this point, she was reduced to flying around, hoping to see him leave a crime scene.
She was about to make another lap around this neighborhood when she heard a voice. “We need to talk.”
Miss Mirror huffed and glanced down at the rooftops. “I’m busy.”
“The Elephant never pulls a job on game nights. You’re wasting your time. I’m two blocks west of you.”
“We can talk fine like this.”
“Some conversations are better face to face.”
The skywalker sighed. “All right, I’m coming down.”
She turned to her left and gently glided down. He, of course, had chosen the highest building on the block. Miss Mirror took one look at him and scowled. “What is so important, Will?”
Will raised an eyebrow. “You should know, Rachel. Did you really think I wouldn’t find out? You were supposed to tell somebody if he got powers.”
Her fist clenched tightly. “That’s what this is about? What happens to my brother is none of your business. It’s nobody’s business but mine.”
Will shook his head. “I agree. It’s not our business what happens to your brother. He’s your responsibility and nobody gets to tell you how to take care of him.” Miss Mirror opened her mouth to respond. “But, it is our business when Jeager’s son gets superpowers. The man was a nut job, and even if the kid is completely normal and a hero through and through, somebody’s going to ask questions. I don’t know about you, but I would rather have answers before that happens. I thought you knew all this. Your grandparents I understand, they never got into the business, but you, you know why we need to do this.”
The heroine growled at Will’s words. “You think I’m going to let a tel go through his head just in case something goes wrong? Hell no. I don’t care if Meister himself comes down here for the job. We’re not putting him through that, especially without him knowing why.” She glared angrily at those words.
“That one was your parents’ decision. You could have told him yourself any time, any place. If he’s half as chipper with you as he is in the group then he’d probably make you feel bad for thinking it would change anything between you two.”
“But it would change everything. I don’t see why he should have to go through that just because he might be like his father.”
“Do you even realize how he got his powers? He got knocked into Jeager’s invention. Half the planet thinks that’s what drove him insane in the first place. If one of the hard-asses found out his son got the same powers from the same machine, he would be slaughtered before he had a chance to prove them wrong.”
“You think I don’t know that? You think I don’t worry about that every fucking day? Why do you think I sent him to you? I need him off the streets until I figure out who to talk to about this. He doesn’t deserve to be blamed for something he had no control over.”
Neither of them spoke for a moment.
Will sighed. “We never should have kept that thing in the city.”
Miss Mirror crossed her arms and started tapping her foot, an impressive feat for somebody floating off the ground. “Please. You know as well as I do moving it would have been asking for trouble. Even if no one else could have gotten powers from it, it’s still one of the most dangerous weapons a civvie ever created.”’
“I know, I know. What the hell was that guy doing near the Ark anyway? There’s nothing worth stealing there. And anyone who steals from the warehouse would be put on the most wanted list before the got out the door.”
“He tried to punch me. I threw him a few blocks.”
“I have no need for sarcasm. Are you going to tell someone about him?”
Will smirked. “He’s your brother. I’ll keep an eye on him while he’s in the group. After that, he’s your problem. Just make sure no one figures out you’re related for a while. And hope he can prove himself.”
The heroine smiled. “You’ve met him right? I don’t need to hope.”
“Good.” Will turned to walk back into the building. Miss Mirror looked ready to fly off, but she paused before she left.
“Will, do…do you think there’s a way to tell him without letting him know about Jeager?”
Will shook his head sadly. “It’s up to you, Rachel. But sooner or later he’s going to learn the truth. If you don’t tell him, someone else will.”
She paused. “What would they have done?”
“They-they were good people. Janet would have told him years ago. Mike would have waited until he got powers. I don’t know what they would have agreed on, but they always managed to turn out all right in the end.”
“Yeah. They made it look easy.”
Will looked over his shoulder, smiling. “They were your parents. Making the hard jobs look easy was their job.”
Miss Mirror shook her head and watched the former hero walk into the building. She turned away and flew up into the night.
She finally stopped when she reached the warehouse. It had been repaired within days of her brother crashing through its walls, but she could see the outline of his impromptu doorway. She landed quietly outside the main entrance.
A light shined down from the doorway and a deep voice spoke. “Identified, Miss Mirror. You do not have authorization for entrance. State your purpose.”
“I need to see the footage of the night 6 months ago when Jeager’s machine was activated.”
“Processing. Footage is deemed relevant to persona Miss Mirror. Entrance into first chamber permitted.”
The doors before her slid open and she walked through. The room she entered was barren. A single chair stood in the center of the room, facing a monitor. A large door stood closed beyond the chair.
Miss Mirror raised an eyebrow at the chair. “It has been determined that persona Miss Mirror has more than minimal chance of reacting negatively to footage. The footage will begin upon your compliance.”
The heroine reluctantly sat down and the monitor turned on. The cameras did not record the outside of the warehouse, but she could hear the energy blasts hitting the surrounding buildings. It was hard to tell when in the fight the footage started, but it wasn’t long before her brother flew through the wall with a loud crash.
He sailed through the air and landed on a box in the middle of the room. Her hands dug into the arms of the chair as the machine inside was revealed. It stood silently over her brother. The camera zoomed in as his eyes opened and the machine above him began to glow. A large bolt of electricity reached out from the machine’s antenna and struck him in the chest. The bolt glowed blue, then red, and finally settled on green as her brother convulsed beneath it.
She started breathing heavily when she saw him unmoving after the bolt faded. The footage fast forwarded through the next ten minutes, punctuated by more explosions from outside the building. Finally, her brother woke up and climbed onto his feet. He glanced down at his hand, clenching and unclenching his fist rapidly.
He tried to walk forward, only to run face first into a crate across the aisle. He looked at it, rubbing his head. After a moment he stood back up and looked down the aisle. He took a few steps, moving very deliberately. After a moment he began to pick up speed until he was running around the warehouse and the camera recorded only a blur.
He stopped back by Jaeger’s machine and studied it with a bewildered look. The sound of a large crash came through the walls and sirens sounded in the distance. He looked at the hole he came through worriedly before blurring out the hole and off the camera.
The footage continued for a few moments until the feed cut out.
“Please take a moment before standing.”
Miss Mirror nodded her head and took a deep breath. “Why didn’t you prevent his entrance?”
“Persona Mitchell was deemed non threat. Preventing his entrance had a 90% chance of fatality. The structure of the wall was weakened before impact.”
“Thank you. Why did he go so far after entering?”
“Unknown. No outside force detected. Most likely scenario, interaction of your power with energy output caused temporary phenomena of maintained momentum.”
“What?…Don’t answer that.” Miss Mirror thought about that. Few walkers let anyone know the specifics of their powers, but she knew her powers weren’t supposed to alter what she reflected. She thought about the energy manip she fought. His blasts always detonated on impact; the chances of them altering due to her powers were slim at best.
“Please replay the moment of entrance. Slow it down.”
The monitor turned back on and she flinched when her brother flew through the wall again. Her brother’s body flew through the air. She studied his path carefully.
“There!” The video paused. “Rewind at 3 frames per second….Pause. Zoom in.”
The video froze and her brother’s form filled the screen. She looked closely beneath his back. “What is that?”
“Filming error. No presence detected.”
“Maybe. Can I get a printout of this image.”
A slot slid open to the right of the monitor and a piece of paper appeared from within. Miss Mirror walked over and grabbed the sheet.
As she walked out the door, she studied the paper closely. Beneath her brother, pressing into his back, was a dark shadowy arm.