Echoes Long Forgotten, Part Six: Breakout Success

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(September 12th, 2008)

“First Psiborg, now this. What do you people make your superhuman prisons out of, cardboard?” Amber slammed her hands down on the desk in frustration. Sitting across from her, the SEA representative, Mr Langmore, frowned grimly, adjusting his glasses.

“Psiborg was the first escape that our system had had in over eleven years, Ms Smith. And I'll remind you that Mr Parker was not, in fact, in one of our institutions.”

“Why the hell not?”

“Because he does not, in fact, have super powers. He had a suit. A suit which was confiscated and remodeled to no longer allow him access.” Mr Langmore frowned again. “Under the circumstances, I don't consider your tone to be very helpful.”

“Sorry.” Amber sat back down, her face a mixture of sheepishness and annoyance. The four Champions were currently in the local SEA offices, discussing the particulars of Don's escape with Langley. Up to this point, that had meant the others sitting by while Langley quizzed Nadia extensively about everything she knew about her old boyfriend. Danielle had left them to the interview, explaining that as an active agent, it wasn't her place to be present. “So why are you guys involved at all, then? Normal prison breaks aren't usually SEA style.”

“True. This one, however, was accompanied by a number of factors that warrant our involvement, especially considering certain facts that have come up in the past. An armoured flight suit was used in the assault. Observational records, while unfortunately very unclear, match it in style to those that Mr Parker and his associates have…” He paused to glance over at Nadia, who was still sitting quietly in her chair, then continued, “and in your case, Ms Tyler, continue to wear. We were hoping you might know anyone who would have been interested in Mr Parker's release.”

“No.” Nadia shook her head dully. “I haven't spoken to Don since his arrest, but we didn't know anyone like that before.”

“And I presume you can verify your whereabouts at 3:00 local time yesterday?”

“Well, yeah, we were all fighting a squidibear on Grove Street…” Nadia broke off abruptly. “You don't think I did it?!”

“The possibility was raised, but it seemed unlikely. Regardless, that's about as solid an alibi as you can get, so consider the issue removed.”

“I…” Nadia broke off, then sighed. “Right.”

“That leaves us with two reasonable possibilities, and unfortunately rather a large number of unreasonable ones. The first possibility is that the attack was done by Rex Mundi, in order to acquire another suit pilot. We've only seen two of his three suits in operation, and he might want someone with experience for the third. The second is that another suit was built by the Witch Doctor, who constructed the original suit, and this action is somehow connected. We have some evidence that he was involved in the initial theft, if not subsequent developments.”

“And the unreasonable ones?” Jim spoke up quietly.

“Oh, the usual suspects. Magical illusions, alternate duplicates, shapeshifters, that sort of thing. Eyewitness accounts are unreliable at best when power enters the equation.” Langley shook his head. “Regardless, I'd like to advise you to leave your suit on or within reach at all times. There's a very good chance that Mr Parker holds you responsible for his capture, and may take steps to gain revenge.” Langley paused uncomfortably. “As a registered superhero, you fortunately have extensive combat training. We estimate a good possibility that he may try to kill you.”

“I can't believe it. He wouldn't.” Nadia shook her head fiercely. “I mean, yeah, he was selfish, but he's no killer.”

“All evidence is that he would and that he could, Ms Tyler. This is not somewhere to press your luck.” Langley stood slowly. “We will keep you advised, of course. Hopefully, he'll be caught soon, and we can put this mess behind us. We are, of course, doubling our observation of the other two members of your old group, but there have so far been no attempts to contact or retrieve them.”

“Great. That's…” Nadia broke off, shaking her head slowly. “I'm sorry. Thank you for telling us so quickly. This is just a lot to take in.”

“I understand.” Langley nodded sagely. “We'll keep in touch.”

“Thank you.” Realizing that she was repeating herself, Nadia stood carefully, nodding, before heading out the door. The others paused just long enough to make their goodbyes before following her.

“Well, this isn't good.” Lucky shook his head.

“Master of the understatement, as always.” Amber glanced at her watch. “Let's go down to Malefico. Hopefully, whatever Ecchs is planning is something that'll be distracting, and watching his plans blow up in his face is always entertaining when they don't involve us.”

“Sounds like fun.” Nadia managed a half-smile. “Couldn't be worse than this conversation.” She paused a moment. “Okay, it could. I'm just going to hope that it won't.”

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