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Chapter 14: Execution
palladian23 wrote in superwebnovel
Author's Notes: Warnings for this chapter - Actual revolt against authority, minor bad language, descriptions of people in peril

A million cheers for my wonderful editor gwoman for her work on this chapter!

Back to Chapter 13

Joan stayed behind when Lex walked over to the group in front of the other van. They looked to be in various stages of boredom, since the medics continually brought stretchers to the front of the building to carry the few people that Casey and the Alpha team captain had been bringing out. Lex headed for the woman who’d spoken to her earlier, noticing now that the sun had begun coming up that the woman’s hair looked to be a brown shade that shone red in the light, and her one eye had an intense hazel color. The man next to the woman with the eye patch stood a bit taller than her and had black hair, light brown skin, and a slim build, his features looking somewhat Hispanic to Lex. The two of them seemed to be half-listening to two women who stood behind them, a diminutive blonde and one with short dark hair who towered over everyone else, both with annoyed looks on their faces. Lex noted that all four of them wore jumpsuits like the one she wore, but in navy blue. She caught the end of something the blonde had said about “…shouldn’t call him an idiot,” just as Lex reached the group. The woman fell silent as she saw Lex arrive, and all four turned to look at Lex, the front two seeming relieved at the interruption, while the two women in back practically glared at Lex.

“Hi,” Lex began, trying her best to look open and friendly. “I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to introduce myself earlier. My name is Lex McKilliam, and I’m new with the M Agency.”

“Hi, Lex. I’m Kate Willis with the Alpha team,” the woman with the eye patch said, reaching out a hand. As Lex neared the other woman, she noted Kate stood a couple inches taller than her, maybe 5’6”. Lex shook hands with Kate as they reached one another, happy to realize it was just a friendly gesture, since the other woman didn’t try to squeeze the life out of her hand.

“Victor Houston,” the man said, nodding his head in her direction with a friendly look in his eyes.

“One of the models,” the woman with short dark hair sneered at Lex before adding, “I’m the Markswoman.”

As hard as she tried not to do it, Lex’s eyes slid questioningly over to Kate. Kate seemed to be trying hard not to laugh as she said, “Jen, I think we can keep all of this on a first name basis, don’t you? These folks did get turned out of their beds early this morning just to come out and help us. There’s no need to be inhospitable.”

Lex watched as Kate turned to look at the now furious brunette, who snorted angrily and walked away in the direction of the park where the medics had camped out. Kate shrugged and turned back to Lex with the ghost of a smile on her face, but turned quickly back to face the blonde as she started speaking.

“I know what you’re thinking about, and I’m not going to be a part of it,” she said shrilly, speaking directly to Lex. She frowned angrily, and then stalked off in the same direction as Jen had. Lex turned to look at Victor and Kate with an expression of confusion and her hands spread wide. Victor appeared to be trying not to laugh while Kate shook her head dismissively.

“Don’t pay attention to them,” Kate told Lex, “they’re always like that.”

“What was…Jen saying about models?” Lex asked, knowing she must still look puzzled.

Kate shrugged dismissively. “That’s the stupid nickname they came up with for your team. They try to sound all superior about it, but I think they’re just jealous because you’re all pretty and nice, and they’re not. Judging from Paula’s reaction, though, you must have something fun in mind. What’s up?”

“Well,” said, Lex, looking at Kate and Victor in turn and trying to gauge their reactions, “I can see that although your captain–“

“George,” Kate broke in, rolling her eyes. “In case you hadn’t already guessed, he’s a total jerk, too.”

“George,” Lex corrected herself, trying not to laugh, “had a plan for him and Casey, but the rest of us seem to be left out, especially since the medics have taking care of the wounded well in hand. So, I wanted to talk to you because I have some ideas about how we might be able to help those people trapped in the building get out. Are you two game?”

Kate smiled and nodded, and Victor nodded beside her, both now intently listening to Lex. She took a big breath and continued.

“I know this may be considered rude, but as I mentioned I’m new in these circles, so I’d like to ask what your special talents are,” Lex said, continuing to watch the two of them.

Neither of them appeared to be bothered. Kate moved to speak first. “I can take on different characteristics of any animal I’ve closely observed.”

Lex looked at her for a moment, trying to absorb the implications. “Does your body change at all?”

“Not usually. Well, not much, anyway. But, for example, if I’m mimicking something with strong claws my own fingernails sometimes get much stronger and then I can use them like claws.”

“Excellent! OK, I know this is probably a stupid question, but can you fly?”

Kate sighed, but didn’t look annoyed. “No, I’d actually need wings to do it.”

“Sorry, I had to ask. Can you crawl around on walls like a gecko?”

“That I can do,” said Kate with a smile.

“That's really cool. I wish I could do that. Can you get a lot stronger?”


Lex just stood for a moment, looking into the middle distance and digesting what she’d just learned. Finally, she nodded and turned to Victor, the question in her eyes.

“I’m an inventor,” he said without further explanation. Lex smiled, realizing what he’d just said had been the most he’d said so far, and began to question him to get more information.

“What did you bring along today?” she asked. “Anything that you can use to fly with, or that’s good against fire and smoke?”

“I did bring my flying equipment,” he said with a nod.

“Can you carry someone with you when you’re flying?”

“I did once. It seemed to work, but I’d want to test it a few more times before carrying anyone else.”

“OK,” Lex said, her thoughts falling into place. “That sounds like a good idea, but could you wait a little bit? I want to talk to the firefighters about borrowing some gear– “

“What do you need?” Kate interrupted as she gestured with her head at the van behind her, a sly smile on her face.

“Do you have any self-contained breathing masks like firefighters wear?” Lex asked excitedly, grinning back at the other woman.

Kate nodded and headed into the van, gesturing for Lex to come with her. Lex followed the other woman, stopping by what looked like an equipment chest, and stood back as Kate began rummaging through it. Lex raised an eyebrow as she looked around both at the extensive equipment the Alpha team carried and the spacious, finished look of their van, compared to the rather utilitarian one she’d arrived in.

A moment later, Kate stood back up with breathing masks in hand. “How many do you think we’ll need?” she asked.

“If you have four, that would be perfect,” Lex said, now smiling from ear to ear.

“Yeah, it actually looks like we have more than that, which is good, because that means we have extra air.”

“Excellent! Can you get them and bring them to where my teammates are standing in front of our van in five minutes or so? I want everyone to meet so that we can discuss the plan. If you want to give me some, I can carry them over now.”

Kate shrugged. “No, we’ll bring them over for you, and the extra air, too. See you in five.”

“See you then!”

Lex bolted out of the Alpha team’s van, smiled at Victor as Kate leaned out to call to him, and nearly ran over to the van she’d arrived in. Serena was leaning against it looking bored, watching the sun as it threatened to appear over one of the nearby buildings.

“Serena! I’m tired of sitting here waiting, and I’ve got some ideas about what we can do to help get the people up there out of the building. I have to tell you, though, what I have in mind will test your abilities to the utmost and will probably mean you being felt up by a number of strangers. Are you game?”

Serena glanced over at Lex with a raised eyebrow and smiled wickedly. “You sweet talker, you. Sounds like fun; count me in.”

“OK, we’ll be meeting here in a few minutes. Let me go get everyone else.”

Lex leaned into the M Agency van, caught Riss’ eye, and nodded. The other woman nodded in return and Lex could see her rearranging her laptops as she got ready to get up. Turning around, Lex walked a few feet to where Joan still leaned against a tree.

“Joan, those of us without an assignment are going to meet to talk about a few things. Could you join us, please?”

Joan didn’t answer, but rose to a standing position and followed Lex over to where Serena and now Riss were standing. Lex looked over with a smile to see Kate and Victor heading in their direction with breathing gear and air tanks. They left them in a pile on the grass a short distance away and joined the group. Lex waited until everyone had gathered in a close circle before speaking.

“OK,” Lex began, “just in case everyone doesn't already know each other, this is Victor and Kate from the Alpha team. Kate, Victor, these are my teammates Joan, Serena, and Riss.”

Everyone exchanged glances and nods along with some handshakes, and then looked back at Lex. She took a deep breath, fighting the urge to cough due to the amount of acrid smoke in the air, and continued.

“All right. I realize that George–”

“Who's that?” asked Serena, squinting in confusion at Lex.

“George is the Alpha team captain. Anyway, I realize that he and Casey are busy trying to get people out of the building, but I was thinking that there’s no plan for us. I don't want to take anything away from what they're doing, but I thought that since the medics seem to have handling the injured well under control that we could do something to support what Casey and George are up to. Is everyone interested?”

Lex looked around the circle, happy to see that everyone looked intrigued. The only one she hadn’t been certain about had been Joan, but to her surprise, Joan nodded in agreement. Sighing in relief, Lex went on.

“Speak up with suggestions at any time, but what I was thinking is this: Victor and Joan, since you two can fly and it sounds like you should be able to carry people with you, I figured you could start taking people off the roof. It looks like there are only a couple of places where the flames are shooting up over the roofline, so you could just avoid those areas when you carry people down to the ground. Does that sound good?”

Joan shrugged while Victor nodded, smiling a bit.

“Joan, Victor was going to do some tests beforehand to be sure he can carry people safely with the equipment he brought, so you can join him, if you think you need to,” Lex continued.

Joan shook her head. “No. My suit was designed to be able to do things like that, so it shouldn't be a problem.”

“OK. Do you know how much power you have? Especially related to how long you can fly?”

“I'm not sure. Clara might know. I do know that I'll get warnings if my power starts to get low.”

“Do you know how it works? Can I ask for more batteries or rocket fuel, or whatever else it uses to be brought for spares if your power gets depleted?”

Joan looked at Lex for a moment. Although she could only see a blank faceplate, Lex got the impression Joan hadn’t liked what she’d asked. “It's classified. Talk to Clara and see what she says. At any rate, I should be able to fly and carry people for at least a couple of hours.”

Lex nodded, and then looked at Victor. “Do you have spare fuel for your equipment, or could you request that more be brought?”

He shook his head. “No, but I should be able to go for a few hours on what I have.”

“All right,” Lex continued, turning towards Serena, “I remember that you're able to get to the 22nd floor, right?”

“Right, shouldn't be a problem,” Serena said, showing confidence in the set of her shoulders.

“Can you go to a central location, say the elevators, or can you just get to Seth's old apartment?”

“Let's find out,” said Serena with a sly grin, and then vanished.

Lex started, then her shoulders slumped. “Crap. I didn't mean right now,” she said to no one in particular, worried about Serena’s safety, but then brightened as her friend reappeared. She smelled strongly of chemical-laden smoke and burning wires, and she began coughing.

“It's nasty smelling in there!”

“I didn't want you to go in without a mask,” said Lex, trying to hide a smile. “So, could you get to a central location?”

Serena shrugged. “I showed up in Seth's old apartment. The new tenants have pretty bad taste in interior decorating, but they did leave the door open. I could see the elevators from there, so I should be able to go there now.”

“Excellent. I know you can take people along with you when you travel. Do you know what your limit is?”

Thinking it over, Serena shrugged. “I'm not sure. The most I've even taken before was three people, but it didn't seem like much of a stretch.”

“Then that's the first thing we'll test. Were there any people on that floor?”

“There did seem to be some out in the hall, but they didn't pay me any attention.”

“We'll start there, then. Kate, you and I are going to provide security for Serena when she first starts, and anytime afterwards when the crowd starts to get too crazy. Sound all right?”

Kate replied, “Yeah. Way better than sitting around and doing nothing.”

Lex turned to Riss next. “Riss, please keep trying to find out the number of people who live in the building, and see if you can find anything out from Clara about whether we can get additional supplies for Joan's suit so she can continue flying. If any of the rest of you can think of any information we need, please let Riss know, since she's the best person to get it. OK, Riss?”

Riss nodded, looking out at the others, then at Lex. “All right,” Lex continued, “after we've successfully moved some people off the roof and the 22nd floor, I'm going to ask the fire department to use their loudspeakers to ask anyone trapped on the upper floors to move to the closest of those two locations for pickup. If Serena runs out of people on the 22nd, Joan or Victor can bring her up to the roof so that all three of them can continue with the rescue, for as long as the fuel lasts, anyway. Kate and I can step in at any time for crowd control. Does that sound like a good plan?”

Lex looked around the circle, noting that everyone seemed to be in agreement. “Does anyone have anything else to suggest?” she asked.

“Yes,” Victor spoke up. “Do we have communicators to stay in touch in case of unexpected situations?”

Lex nodded. “Good idea. I'll find out. Everyone, please think for a few minutes and let me know if you come up with any other ideas when I get back.”

She stepped over to the M Agency van to speak to Clara but didn't immediately see her when she poked her head in. Climbing into the van, Lex finally spotted Clara near the back. The other woman turned and moved in her direction, then gave her a handful of squishy, sticky things. Lex untangled one and saw that it was an earpiece with a short extension that stuck to the cheek along the jaw bone.

“There are enough for you, Serena, Riss, and the two Alpha team members you're talking with. I'll be monitoring the channel, as well. Don't worry about Joan; she has communications built into her suit.”

“Thanks,” Lex replied as she climbed back out of the van. Then she handed the equipment to her team members who needed it and showed them how to put it on.

“All right, we'll be able to be in touch, as well. Did anyone come up with anything else?”

There were no further new ideas, so Lex nodded. “Is everyone ready to start?” Looking around the circle showed only positive expressions, so Lex continued. “Let's begin, then. Victor, let us know when you've finished your tests to give Joan a heads-up as to when you'll join her. Both of you let everyone know in case you run into anything strange.”

Lex, Serena, and Kate watched as Joan and Victor left and Riss went back inside the M Agency van, then Lex turned to her two companions again. She began to speak, and then stopped as she saw Casey come out of the building carrying a few children. “Give me a minute,” she finally said, grabbing some breathing gear and running in the larger woman's direction.


Stopping and turning at Lex's yell, Casey looked at her. Lex thought that Casey appeared tired, charred, and visibly upset. She made a mental note to ask Casey afterwards about what had been bothering her, then stopped in front of her friend and handed over the breathing equipment and a communicator.

“Here, put these on. There are extra air tanks by our van. You'll hear some people besides me on this channel. We're going to be assisting you with the rescue, and we're planning to ask the firefighters to signal the people in the building to move to either the roof or the 22nd floor soon, just so you know. Let us know if you run into anything out of the ordinary or have any problems.”

Casey smiled at Lex, still seeming out of sorts, but glad for the support. “Thanks. I'll be listening.”

Lex smiled and ran back to the M Agency van. After ducking inside to get another communicator, since she’d given her own to Casey, she came back to Serena and Kate.

“Give me a minute to put myself together, and then let's go in,” Lex said, continuing to speak as she put on her communicator and mask. “Serena, I was thinking we could start you with five people, and then try to go up from there in increments of five until you reach what seems to be a working limit. What I mean by that is something you can probably keep up with for hours.”

Serena nodded and gave an excited smile. “Sounds good. Let's try it out.” She reached out for Lex and Kate, both of whom nodded back and hung on.

Suddenly, the three of them had appeared in a long carpeted hallway in front of some elevator doors. Perhaps a foot of smoke hung near the ceiling. They couldn't see any flames from where they stood, but a crackling sound seemed to permeate the air, as well as frequent creaking and crumbling sounds as things within the building walls settled or gave way. Some people had been wandering aimlessly in the hallway, and some had been sitting or lying on the ground as if in shock. Now, everyone that could still move had focused on the three women who’d showed up. Lex, sensing that odd stillness just before a mass of movement, took a deep breath and slipped the breathing mask off her face.

“All right, everyone,” she began in a voice loud enough to be heard by most of the people in the hall, turning to catch everyone’s eye, “we’re here to help you get out of the building. We will get everyone out, and do it quickly, but we need you to be calm and stay where you are until we ask you to move forward. Do you understand?”

Lex cautiously moved behind Serena as she watched Kate move to Serena’s front, scanning the crowd. Some people seemed caught in a smoke-induced trance, but those that still looked lucid seemed to be nodding or saying yes. Nodding in response, Lex continued, her muscles involuntarily tensing as she spoke. “All right. Five of you please step forward.”

It started out as a trickle, with just a few people approaching as Lex slipped her mask back over her face, but then a few more with wide, frightened eyes broke into a run and then everyone seemed to surge forwards at once.

“Crap!” Lex said, looking over at Kate as she moved into a crouch. “I hope you have training in crowd control.”

“Yes,” the other woman responded with a grin.

“If you have any advice, now would be a good time, because I forgot to mention that I have no experience with this sort of thing.”

“It’s kind of like keep away,” Kate said, suddenly moving much faster than she had previously and performing an improbable sweep that knocked most of the people within three feet of her onto their butts. “Try to keep the one being protected clear of the crowd. Piece of cake, right?”

Lex grunted in return as she shifted her weight and levered a large man into stumbling backwards into a nearby wall and taking several other people along with him. “I guess. Serena, since these people don’t know what the deal is, do you think you can grab a few of them and get them out of here?”

“Now that’s going to be a piece of cake,” Serena replied as she used both hands to reach out and touch four people nearby, and then kicked at a fifth man to loop her foot around his leg. When her leg connected with his, all six people disappeared.

Suddenly, anyone who had been near to Serena’s group stepped back, some going far down the hallway, regarding Lex and Kate like spooked horses. Lex sighed and called out over the communicator.

“Serena, how did it go with five people?” she asked.

Just as suddenly, Serena had returned, smirking at Lex. Out of the corner of her eye, Lex could see Kate studying them both, a look of interest on her face.

“Just fine,” Serena replied, “but I think I could do more. Can we try ten next?”

“Sure, just as soon as we can get ten volunteers. Let me give it a try.”

Lex began speaking as she got her mask away from her mouth again. “All right, ten of you please step forward now and my friend here will bring you safely outside. Please don’t rush us or we’ll have to push you back again.”

Pausing, Lex waited for people to begin stepping forward, but no one did. She sighed, her shoulders drooping. Finally, a man in his twenties wearing a faded rock concert t-shirt and a suspicious expression stepped forward, pulling on the arm of a woman about his age, who appeared to be shivering.

“Do you mind if we bring you back inside after you go out so that you can tell everyone else what happened?” Lex asked the two of them quietly, after they’d come close enough.

The man shrugged and the woman nodded nervously, so Lex turned to Serena and gestured her to go. After Serena grabbed both of their wrists, they vanished, and then several moments later, all three reappeared. The young woman spoke to the crowd, her fear seemingly gone.

“It’s true. She took us to the front of the building, and there are doctors out there to look after you if you’re hurt.”

The young man nodded to back her up, his expression now a lot brighter.

“Thanks,” said Lex, leaning in close into the pair, and then spoke more loudly to the crowd, “Are there eight more volunteers who’d like to go?”

The crowd seemed calmer now, and some elderly people were pushed forward, as well as a few who’d been injured or who kept coughing uncontrollably. Serena nodded to Lex.

“All right everyone, please put your hands on this woman and you’ll be transported outside,” Lex said, watching as ten tentative hands reached out. Serena smiled over at Lex as one of the reaching hands made its way to her hip, and suddenly the group seemed to blink out of existence.

“So, how does it work?” Kate asked over the communicator as Lex replaced her mask. Lex could hear her well enough, although Kate sounded as if speaking from the other end of a long hallway.

“How does any of what we do work?” Lex replied, giving a wry smile, “Serena can go wherever she wants to almost instantly, and she can take other people with her. Hopefully we can get a good working number.”

Serena reappeared then, smiling. “How was ten? Do you think that’s good, or should we try more?” Lex asked.

Shrugging, Serena responded, “Ten was fine, but let’s try fifteen to be sure.”

Lex nodded, then addressed the crowd. “All right, can fifteen of you please come forward?”

It went smoothly again, and the group to go this time included some of the unconscious injured, carried by their neighbors. Serena’s mouth had drawn up in a smirk this time, and her disappearance seemed like watching the Cheshire cat blink out. When she didn’t reappear for a few minutes, however, the people began murmuring and pressing forward again and Lex finally called to her friend on the communicator.

“Serena, are you all right?” She found herself staring inside a nearby open door as she waited for a reply, spotting overturned chairs and abandoned toys in the wake of the fire, and hoped the family had already made it out safely.

“Yes, but fifteen was too many. I’m catching my breath; give me a few minutes and I’ll be back in there.”

The incident jogged Lex’s memory, and she muttered a muffled curse as she realized something she’d forgotten. “Everyone on the circuit, please report in and let us know how you’re doing. When you do, let me know if there’s anything in particular you need to keep your strength up, because I’m going to be ordering some food.”

“Joan here. Progressing smoothly, but there aren’t many on the roof. We’ll probably run out of people to move in the next fifteen minutes or so. I’m not picky; I’ll eat anything you order.”

“Thanks, Joan. Another thing I’ll do is to ask the firefighters to use their loudspeakers to direct people, so hopefully you’ll have lots more customers soon.”

“Victor reporting. I’ve finished my tests and joined Joan. Agreed on her assessment. Nothing special for food.”

Kate gave a summary of the situation in their group while Serena transported another group of people. Finally, Casey chimed in.

“Right now, I'm on the fourteenth floor. I'm getting ready to go back downstairs with a little girl and her mother. The smoke here isn’t as bad as it was on the thirteenth floor, but everyone's starting to congregate in the halls since the outer walls are hot and seem to cause the most smoke. So, it seems easier to find everyone, on the bright side. Just get me some good veggie food, Lex; I think by now you know what I like.”

“Thanks, everyone,” Lex said, and then turned towards Kate, “Do you think you have control of everything here, Kate?”

“Yeah, everyone seems to have calmed down now that they know they're going to get out, so I should be fine guarding Serena alone.”

“If you need more backup, let me know right away and I'll wait for Serena to show up outside.”

Kate nodded and put her hand on Lex's shoulder as she passed by. “Don't worry, everything should go fine.”

Lex nodded in return and approached Serena, who’d just reappeared inside. “Serena, did you hear any of that?”

“That's why I waited. I figured you wanted to hitch a ride.”

“Thanks,” said Lex, nodding. She put her hand on Serena's shoulder as the other woman started to wink at her. When Serena’s eye had reopened, the small group that had been clustered around, as well as Serena and Lex, stood out in front of the building. The medics immediately started tending to the injured and Lex pulled the mask off her face gratefully.

“Serena,” said Lex, looking seriously at the other woman, “I know there are a lot of people in there, but don't wear yourself out. Take a break when you need one. And call me right away if you or Kate need backup.”

“Yes, mom,” Serena said, rolling her eyes, but Lex thought she could detect that her friend looked secretly pleased, as well.

“And you didn't tell me what you want. How do you keep your energy up on those late clubbing nights?”

“Get me some of those low-calorie energy drinks! A couple of those and I can prowl all night.”

And then Serena vanished again. Lex shook her head and turned towards the M Agency van. She wrote up an extensive list of snacks and food with everyone's requests, as well as extra sandwiches, trail mix, sodas, and a couple cases of water and then asked Clara to send one of her assistants who’d come with them this morning to go and get the food.

A little while later, sitting next to Riss on the grass as she rearranged her laptops, Lex apologized for dislodging her from the van due to the food run. The day had turned out mostly overcast, but a breeze seemed to be preventing the weather from being too muggy, as well as carrying away some of the smoke, so Lex appreciated it briefly as it pushed the hair from her face.

“Not a problem,” Riss replied to the apology. “I should probably take advantage and get some sun today, anyway. How’s everything going?”

“Pretty good so far, but I’m worried about how long the building can hold up. Did you manage to get a list of the people living on the 13th through 30th floors?”

“Yes. There are 2,033 listed leaseholders and occupants,” said Riss, turning one of her laptops around so that Lex could see the list.

Lex nodded. “We’ve got to figure that some people are out of town, and that since George started a while before we got here, we can estimate maybe a little less than two thousand left. I figure between the two of them, George and Casey can probably evacuate 16 people an hour, at least for a couple more hours, Joan and Victor can do probably 24 until their fuel runs out, and Serena and Kate, probably 300. At that rate, about how many hours should it take?”

Riss typed into her computer for a moment and then responded, “Somewhere around seven hours, assuming they can get Joan’s refill here before she runs out.”

“All right, I’d better get busy,” Lex said with a sigh, glancing at the flames coming out of the windows on the lower floors. “Let me know if you get any more news, and if you could let me know when the food comes in, I’d appreciate it.”

“Certainly, General,” said Riss, saluting with a smirk when Lex looked down at her. Lex rolled her eyes in response, unable to stop her chuckle, and went to talk to the firefighters.

After an interesting conversation, which eventually involved getting one of the commanding fire chiefs a ride into and out of the burning building with Serena, the firefighters made a loudspeaker announcement to advise people to go to either the roof or the 22nd floor for evacuation. Lex also spoke with the building engineer. She seemed most concerned about the length of time that it would take to get everyone out, because the floors and ceilings might start to collapse.

Finally Lex told her, “Look, I share your concern, but I don’t know any way to get people out faster. Think about it, and let me know if you have any ideas in the next few hours.”

Just after the firefighters had made the announcement, Lex waited outside until George came out with his latest evacuees. He looked angry, and had turned in the direction of the firefighters when Lex’s voice stopped him.

“Hello, George?” He had to look down to see her, and gave her a frown seemingly to intimidate her, but Lex smiled up at him. “You’re probably wondering why the firefighters are announcing locations for people to get evacuated. I asked them to do it so that our team can help yours get everyone out of the building.”

“But this is my operation–“

George broke off as he saw Serena appear, surrounded by a small knot of people, several of whom had their hands on questionable areas. Lex shook her head a little, trying to warn her friend to be low key, but couldn’t help but grin as Serena gave a big smile and a peace sign as she disappeared again.

“Well, I didn’t mean to keep you,” Lex said quickly, hoping that either seeing some more evacuees would spur him into action or at least goad his sense of competition. “I’m sure you’re in a big hurry to help the people here, but I wanted to let you know what’s going on.”

He glared down at her before running back to the burning building. “We’ll talk more later,” he replied, an edge of menace in his tone. Lex raised an amused eyebrow, then shrugged and hurried off to take care of the next items on her list.

Forward to Chapter 15

Comments about anything you liked or that you thought could be improved are extremely welcome!

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This George guy is exactly the sort of douche who should never get superpowers. He's this angry about being upstaged? I dearly hope he gets caught in the building when it finally collapses.

Exactly so. Unfortunately, it’s much like a lottery in which most can’t choose to play/not to play. Some of the people who get them are exceedingly unfit for them, and he’s definitely one. Hmmm…caught in the building…not a bad place for him! XD

Loving Serena's abilities. All the action made me think the chapter was shorter than it was. Things are looking good, except for George that is. Looking forward to more action in the next chapter. I'm sure you have something planned.

So glad to hear it! She’s really just a lot of fun to write…kind of like a monkey-wrench in a lot of people’s plans. : ) I’m happy to hear it felt like it read quickly, and I definitely have more action and surprises planned for next chapter. Thank you for coming by to read, and for commenting!

I keep wondering is there a special qualificqtion Joan has or could anyone ride that mech?

I kinda figured she built the thing. No special qualification except for first-hand knowledge of its workings.

Good guess, but unfortunately Joan could only wish that she was that technically skilled. There definitely was a reason that she's the one using the suit, though...

Anyone could pilot that mech, as long as they were trained to. There are some qualifications that Joan has that caused her to be chosen as the one to pilot it, though...but you'll be finding out about that in time. :D

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