"What do you mean 'where was I'?" Andy yelled at Jess as they stood in their bedroom.
"If you would've been here, BrainWave would not have gotten as far as he did. Buildings would still be standing, we'd still have Kismet and my leg would not be in a cast!" Jess yelled.
"And what makes you think that? I could've wound up like Kismet! I also could've made it worse!" Andy argued.
"You still could've been here. If not for the city then for me."
"For you? You know what I've been doing the last few days? I was down in Independence looking for your sister's killer. Barney and I found him by way--a Catholic priest--but it's not like you care," Andy said.
"You..." Jess started to say but Andy interrupted her.
"I'm gonna go to work. I'm tired of being here," Andy stormed out of the apartment nearly knocking Kyle over as he came in.
"Whoa!" he exclaimed. "What happened with Andy?"
"I don't know," Jess lied. "But I think I need to stop meddling in Andy's life."
Mike walked into Barney's office. "Mike, glad you could make it."
"No problem. What is it you want?" Mike asked.
"I got this case, I have to go to New York. I'm going to be following Jonathan Schmock as he goes to the NolanMark National Bank Headquarters," Barney explained.
"So? Why are you telling me?"
"I think your dad is going to begin what he's always wanted to do for some time now," Barney said. "It's the reason he's introduced his own police force, tripled production at the NolanMark military institutions and why Nolan purchased the state's insurance company."
"I don't get it. What's he doing?"
"He's going to secede Centropolis from the country."
Visor flew across the city, doing odd rescues and just making appearances. He arrived over the warehouse district where an explosion suddenly occured just below him. Visor looked down and saw a building in flames and a bunch of smaller fires in the parking lot. Upon closer inspection the smaller fires were burning bodies and they were laid out in a single word: Reign!
"Man of Fire"
"I'm sorry ma'am but we can't change the coverage of the policy you have. You can upgrade to another policy--one that covers cancer completely--but that would be an extra $175 a month," Andy explained to the woman on the phone.
"I can't afford that so what am I supposed to do?" the woman asked.
"I can give you the phone numbers to some insurance assistance places and they..."
"My doctor already gave me enough numbers. If there's nothing you can do then just say so."
"Giving you these numbers is the only thing I can do besides upgrading your policy," Andy explained.
"Well, I think it's pretty horrible the way you are treating a supposed valued customer," the woman said.
"I can only do what's in my power," Andy said. "It's not like we're the ones who gave you cancer."
"After this phone conversation, it sure feels like you did," and the woman hung up the phone.
"Yep, cuz I'm the flippin' cancer fairy," Andy said and stormed away from his cubicle. He went into the break and went to a vending machine and began putting money in for a Mountain Dew. Andy grabbed the bottle and went to set down at one of the tables. He sighed and opened the bottle. It fizzed close to the top but settled down. Andy took a drink.
"Cancer fairy, that was funny," said someone behind Andy.
"What?" Andy turned around and asked. He saw a beautiful girl standing behind him, also drinking a Mountain Dew.
"I heard you say that you were the cancer fairy as you stormed off," she smiled at him. "I'm Mariah LeMasters."
"I'm Andy Warren and I'm not having the best day of my life right now. My best friend got mad at me today, it's supposed to be my day off but I'm here making up time and that woman on the phone just rubbed me the wrong way," Andy explained.
"Sorry, Andy. I've only been at this job for a couple of weeks and it gets to you. I don't see how the people who have been here for four years can do it, can you?"
"No I can't. And I'm one of the veterans."
"Oh, I'm sorry," Mariah smiled. "When do you get off work?"
"Five. You want to go do something?"
"Sure, I'm not really in the mood to go home anyway and deal with my friend again," Andy smiled at Mariah. "I know this club downtown that we can go to. I have this friend from work that has a band who's playing there tonight."
"All right. Sounds like fun. It's a date."
Mariah walked out of the break room. Andy kept looking over to where she disappeared. Andy went back to his Mountain Dew, still smiling.
Eli wasn't sure he had chosen the best name for his superhero. He turned to his friend Robin who was sitting on his bed. "What do you think?" he asked her.
Robin stood up. "I don't know. You're now known as Magic Man so I think you have to stick with it. I liked the other name--Abracadabra--but you'd never be able to say it plus I don't think your costume matches a name like that," Robin opined.
"Yeah, that's why I chose Magic Man, I'd be able to say it and with the gaudy costume from the 1930s those magic gods gave me, Magic Man fits a bit more," Eli chuckled. Suddenly, Eli's police scanner crackled to life.
"...Robotic monster at 54th & Strang Line...all units available report," the operator said.
"I should probably go see what's going on," Eli stood up. "Abracadabra!" he shouted and suddenly Eli morphed into Magic Man in his red suit and white cape. "Be back soon."
Magic Man flew over to the intersection named and saw the new Centropolis Officers firing guns and lasers at a huge robot. Magic Man swooped down and head-butted the robot, knocking it down. Magic Man stood up and bent over and grabbed the robot's chest. The officers stopped firing and Prime Officer Conduit began walking over to Magic Man.
"You're that new Magic Man, aren't you?" he asked.
"Yeah," he answered. "I stopped this robot for you."
"Uh, thanks. Just a moment and I'll tell you where you can put it," Conduit tapped a button on his headset. "Sir? The robot has been stopped. No, sir by Magic Man. Yes, sir. Right away." Conduit let go of the button and looked at Magic Man. "Mayor Nolan wants you to follow me to a warehouse where we will disable the robot."
"Okay," Magic Man shrugged and the two flew into the air. A couple minutes later, they arrived at a warehouse where Mayor Nolan was waiting with open arms.
"Magic Man, my boy. How are you?" Mayor Nolan grabbed Magic Man's unused arm and shook it. "Please, come with me, I'll show you where you can put that thing."
Mayor Nolan took Magic Man into the warehouse and directed him to place the robot in an electrified steel cage.
"Thank you, Magic Man. How can I repay you?" Mayor Nolan offered.
"No repayment necessary," Magic Man said. "I was glad to help."
"Where did you come from? What are your powers?" Mayor Nolan asked.
"Aside from the strength and ability to fly, I have mastered all magic and sorcery in the known universe," Magic Man said. "I was granted these powers a short time ago after discovering a rare book and reading from it."
"That's amazing. What book?" Mayor Nolan asked.
"I can't tell you that, the magic gods wouldn't like it," Magic Man chuckled. "I'll see you around Mayor Nolan," and Magic Man flew into the air and was gone.
"Did you get any information, sir?" Conduit asked.
"No...well, some. No who the hell let that robot out?!" Mayor Nolan demanded.
Andy and Mariah walked hand in hand into the club where a band was playing on the stage. They went up to the bar and opened themselves a drink and then sat down at a table.
"My friend's band should be up after these guys," Andy said and took a drink.
"I've only been here a couple of times but they always have really good local bands here," Mariah said. "Do you come here often?"
"Not really? I like staying at home normally or helping another friend with his job--he's a private detective," Andy said in a tone trying to impress her.
"Really?" she asked. "What can someone like you do to help a trained private detective?"
"Hmm, I'll have to show you someday," Andy smiled.
Suddenly the building shook and dust and pieces of the roof began falling. Andy looked around suspiciously and when bigger pieces started falling, the band stopped playing and Andy stood up. Then the building went up in flames and the roof began caving in. Andy looked up and saw a huge span of the ceiling coming down toward them. Andy pushed Mariah down to the ground and got on top of her.
Visor arrived on the scene but was too late to save the people in the club. Visor rushed in and began moving pieces of the collapsed building to recover bodies as the flames roared around him. In another corner, Andy used his strength to lift the burning ceiling off of himself and Mariah.
Mariah rolled over and looked up at Andy, his shirt on fire and holding up a burning hot cement roof. "Well, now I know what you can do for your friend..." she said.
Andy pushed the ceiling away and helped Mariah up. "Come on, let's get you out of here." Andy took Mariah in his arms and they flew off into the sky. Andy looked behind him at the burning club and saw Visor on the scene.
Visor continued looking for survivors as fire and ambulances arrived on the scene. "Visor, what's going on?" one of the firemen shouted.
"I don't know. This is the second building today to just spontaneously combust. If you guys have any ideas, let me know," Visor shouted back, pulling a charred body from the rubble.
"It is the end of your planet and it is the salvation of your planet," a booming voice said from above. "Soon, this planet will be the perfect utopia..." a man suddenly began appearing in the sky "and you can either join me or perish."
"Who? What are you?" Visor asked to the man who suddenly appeared, dressed in black from head to toe except for a flame red design that started at the collarbone and went down the chest to the waist.
"I am your new leader. I am your salvation. I am your new God!"
Kyle put his clothes back on and kissed Jess on the forehead. "I'm gonna go get my supplies. I will be back as soon as I can," he smiled at her.
"Okay, hurry back."
Kyle left the apartment and went down to the streets. He began cutting down alleys to get to where he was going quicker. In one of the alleys, Kyle was startled by a bright blue light. Kyle looked behind him and saw a glowing blue ring on the ground. He slowly went over and picked it up. The blue color was beautiful and it hypnotized Kyle.
He semi-unconsciously slipped the ring on his finger and Kyle felt all this power coarse through him and then found himself floating several feet above the ground. And with just a quick thought from his brain, Kyle was gone.
To be continued...