Echoes Long Forgotten, Part Eight: Looking For Favours

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(September 22nd, 2008)

-Timebender looked across the table at Dr Ecchs, her eyebrows reaching her hairline. “I'm sorry, you want us to what?”

“You know, show my nephew around. Give him the basics. He's got the book learning down pat – taking hero classes on the side, and of course a lot of the theoretical courses are the same for both sides – but he doesn't have any real world experience with how heroes operate.” Ecchs smiled broadly, nodding at the nephew in question. Bryce was currently sitting to one side of the doctor's desk, with Nightshade standing in the corner trying to mask her amusement. The Champions were still standing, having been given their brief introduction to the would-be hero and the doctor's request.

“The basics.” Timebender shook her head slowly. “Look, no offense to you, Bryce, but really? Us? We're not teachers. Why would we be the ones you wanted to go to?”

“All sorts of reasons.” Bryce smiled, tapping his fingers nervously on the palm of his left hand. “For one thing, you just beat down the Antiheroes, and that was brilliant – and global. Like it or not, you've got the cred now. Plus, you've got two ex-villains on your team, so I figure you'll know some of the pitfalls I might have to avoid.”

“One.” Lucky spoke up suddenly. “We've got one ex-villain.”

“You and Mayfly…?” Bryce trailed off curiously when Lucky shook his head.

“She wasn't actually a villain. It's sort of complicated, and not really the point.” Lucky sighed, shaking his head. “Which is that I don't know about this. Have you considered trying to shadow someone… well… older?” He glanced at his teammates. “I mean, we aren't exactly mentoring age.”

“You're older than me.” Clearly feeling more comfortable, Bryce leaned back in his chair. “You've been in the business for what, seven years now? That's pretty decent. And you're good at what you do.”

“Exactly. So why don't you show Bryce what it is you do, and in return I'll hold off on crazy domination schemes while you're doing it. Sound good?” Ecchs smiled encouragingly.

Timebender didn't smile back. “Doc, what we do is fight your crazy domination schemes.”

“Mm. Right.” Ecchs sat back in his chair thoughtfully. “Would be a pretty boring mentoring period, wouldn't it.” He chewed his lower lip thoughtfully. “Maybe I can get someone else in to sub for me. Know any villains looking for work?”

“Oh, for the love of…” Timebender gritted her teeth. “If you're serious about this, why don't we just show Bryce how we usually beat you?”

“Oh, no no no nono.” Ecchs shook his head, looking faintly worried. “I wouldn't be at the top of my game. What if something went wrong and Bryce got hurt?”

“I can take care of myself, Uncle Spencer. You don't have to worry about my…”

“Not the point.” Ecchs waved aside his nephew's protest. “No Ecchs has ever fought another, not even tangentially, not even once. Point of family pride, and I'm not about to break it. I'll just have to find some desperate loser to handle it for me. Ooh! I know!” With a broad grin, he thumbed the intercom on his desk, swivelling it to look at the viewscreen that covered the far wall. Everyone followed his gaze.

“R&D, Dr – oh, hello, Spencer. What do you need?” Ada Byron smiled cheerily, raising a hand to wave to the occupants of the room. “Oh, I see you have the Champions there. I hope I haven't missed your demonstration scheme.”

“Ada, I told you. Ecches don't…”

“…fight Ecches, I know.” Ada cut off her boyfriend with a dismissive wave of her hand. “So what do you need?” Her eyes narrowed suddenly. “Spencer, you aren't trying to get around that rule by making me solo a fight against the Champions, are you?”

“No, of course not! I was just…” Ecchs broke off as Ada bulled onwards.

“Because you know how I feel about solo design. And incidentally, I saw that Cyber Gigas you're building in Lab 11, mister. It's just going to explode if you don't get someone to look over the designs.”

“Ada…” Ecchs coughed significantly, glancing around the room. “The Champions are right here.”

“Fine, I'll save it for later.” Ada brushed a strand of errant hair out of her eye. “If you aren't trying to sneak your way around that family restriction, what do you need?”

“Well…” Ecchs smiled nervously. “You still have Jason's number, right?”

Ada stared at him a moment, then shook her head and sighed. “Are you sure that's a good idea, Spencer? He hates you.”

“I think I can handle the Witch Doctor, Ada. Give me a chance.”

“Fine. I'll send you the number. But this is a terrible idea.” The video went dead as Ada reached forwards to shut it down.

Ecchs turned back to the group, to find them all staring at him dubiously. Handyman broke the silence. “You're going to call the Witch Doctor for a favour.” It wasn't so much a question as a denial of the truth.

Ecchs smiled reassuringly.“Trust me. This is going to be awesome.”

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