End Of A Dream, Part 4: Mail Call

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Lucky glanced into the dining room as he walked past, on his way to the den. A moment later, he did a double-take and backed up two steps. “Uh, Amber?” He frowned pensively. “That's an awful lot of mail. What's up?”

Amber looked up and fixed Lucky with a sour look. The table around her was stacked two feet high with paper, obscuring her behind a precariously tottering wall of white. “With Nadia gone, I thought I would send out a notice that we were looking for a temporary hero.”

Lucky frowned. “By mail? You didn't tell me that you'd already given up hope of her getting a new suit.” He glanced around all of the paper. “When was that?”

“This morning.”

Lucky blinked. He looked at the stack of papers. “Um….”

“I know.” Amber's teeth were firmly clenched. “I didn't count on the effects of the Antihero invasion. Everyone wants to be a Champion. Literally everyone. We have over four hundred applications already. Most of them want to send twenty-page CVs detailing everything that they have ever done that could even remotely impact on the case.” She pulled a stack of papers out at random. “Look at this one. 'Enoch, The Living Man'. Guy's pulled up transcripts of every class he took, attached teacher comments, and included his case summaries of all of our encounters with Ecchs. Even the Purple Dishrag incident.”

Lucky flopped down in a chair across from Amber, whistling low. “Sounds like we need a secretary.”

“Yeah, but I'm not trusting this to the Mayor's office. And asking Nadia to do it…” Amber broke off, and shook her head, shaking out another stack of papers. “Hey, here's one from Yoriu. We're even popular off-planet.” She paused, scanning it closely, then tossed it onto the pile on her right with a grunt. “On the other hand, this Kalabrax The Devastator doesn't seem entirely clear on what human heroes do.”

Lucky nodded slowly. “Well, that's the Yocanu for you. They're a little… direct, by our standards.” He shrugged. “Or so I hear. Never met one.”

“Not many people have, what with the international incidents and all.” Amber sighed again, dropping the next sheaf of papers down on her left. “This seriously sucks.”

“We could go without. You managed it without me for almost a year.” The offer was given lightly, as Lucky casually picked a stack of papers and flipped through them curiously.

“Yeah, and it was a pain. Plus we had a lot of help from Ash.” Shaking her head, Amber stared up at the ceiling. “We aren't just fighting Doctor Ecchs anymore, Lucky. Other villains show up, there's Rex Mundi to worry about, this new Oligarch thing…”

“Assuming we can trust one of Mundi's henchmen.”

“Assuming that. But Blastwave and Danielle seem to think it's real intel, and I trust their judgment on that front.” Amber sighed. “Anyway, I looked up those two that the girl mentioned – Clockwork and Warzone. They really are oldschool. Used to be members of the Fear Force, a bunch of powerful villains back in the seventies.” She considered. “They must be getting pretty old, but maybe they're slow agers like Dudeman.”

“Oh, geez, the Fear Force?” Lucky sat up straight. “Dad used to mention them from time to time. I'd forgotten about that.” He grimaced. “He didn't like to talk about them, though. I got the sense they were pretty dangerous. But weren't there a bunch of them?”

“Yeah, the group disbanded a few years before New York. No official record of why, but villains didn't really keep records back then. Afterwards, they formed other teams, retired, or vanished. A few of them died in New York, a couple joined the Accords.” Amber thought back. “And I think I remember those two being part of the fight against Judgment, back in the day.” When Lucky raised an eyebrow, she grinned. “I saw chunks of Dad's memories of that, remember?”

“Right.” Lucky shook his head slowly. “Weird times.” He tapped the table a few times, and then nodded. “No, you're right, we should really have a fourth hero. I just don't want to give up yet.”

“You never do.” Timebender gave him a glum look. Anything else that she might have added to soften the statement was interrupted by the phone. In the blink of an eye, she reached the phone and lifted it. “Champons residence. Oh, hello, Doctor Ecchs. I see. Yes. Really? We'll see about that, won't we? Of course we will. Ten minutes.”

Hanging up the phone, she shrugged, looking over to Lucky. “We'll have to worry about this later. Ecchs is launching some sort of missile, and he dares us to stop him. He's in a blimp hovering over the city.”

Lucky rolled his eyes. “I see. Well, grab Jim and let's get going.”


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