Epilogue, Part Four: The End

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(January 22nd)

Lucky Lad met his double at the door, laughing and ushering him into the growing party. “Glad you could make it, me.” He said with a laugh. “How are things at Supervillain Central?”

Hazard made a face, hanging his helmet on a hook as he pulled off his gloves. “Same as ever. Ecchs is mainly unrepentant, arrogant, and certain that his stay will be a short one.”

“Shows what he knows.” Blastwave, curled up on the couch next to Amber, raised her glass of champagne to Hazard.

“Don't count him out.” Josh said darkly, from his own seat. “If there's one thing I learned at Malefico, it's not to underestimate him.”

“We all learned that.” Amber said seriously, then changed the subject. “But you know what's more interesting than Doctor Ecchs? Almost anything. And this is a going-away party, which means it's about the future, not the past.”

“I'll drink to that.” Nina laughed at her sister, taking a long swig of champagne and reaching to fill her glass. “Here's to a successful trip, sis. We're looking forwards to you guys wrapping things up and coming home to a long, profitable feud with whatever we rename our company.”

“Not sticking with Malefico?” Lucky teased lightly, picking up his own glass. Nina made a face at him, and he raised his hands defensively, laughing as he continued. “I'm sure your new operation will have much better branding.”

“Yeah, definitely.” Nina said after a glance over to Josh, who shrugged back at her. “We'll have something worked out any day now.”

“I'm more interested in whether Blastwave is a Champion now.” Igor said softly, leaning against the back wall, his glass sitting unnoticed beside him. When Blastwave raised an eyebrow at him, he shrugged. “What? It's honest curiousity.”

“No.” Blastwave said, then put an arm around her girlfriend. “I have to be on the sidelines to pull them out of trouble whenever they do something so mind-bogglingly dumb that it beggars the imagination.”

“We almost never do that.” Jhim objected. Nina choked on her drink. After a moment, Jhim added, “Well… rarely. Occasionally.”

“I'm sure we'll have plenty of chances on Sayleen.” Lucky admitted, grabbing a taco from the table. “Going to be a busy year.”

“For everyone.” Hazard nodded. “But I'm confidant that you'll power through it. Any ideas where you're going first?”

“I've got some reports that a set of Yocanu mercenaries are setting themselves up as overlords on Hatura.” Jhim said thoughtfully. “I think we'll be paying them a visit. For negotiation purposes.” Behind him, Blastwave made a series of shooting gestures with one hand, and everyone started to chuckle. The gathering settled into general conversation, discussions about plans and good movies.

After about twenty minutes, Amber looked around the room at her friends and family as she tapped on her glass. “Everyone, could I have your attention for a moment?” The conversation died away, as everyone turned to look at her, and she smiled. “Thank you. I just wanted to take a moment to have a toast, to everyone who made it here today to say goodbye.” She paused, and swallowed. “And I would like to toast the people who didn't.” She looked around, slowly. “A lot of people died out there, but there were a few that hit closer to home.”

“Dudeman fought to protect us all. I wish he'd been here to see our victory.” Hazard said softly, from his place near the door.

“Charon, the only one of us to make it out of New Year's and not make it to the end.” Nightshade added after a moment of silence. “He didn't speak up much, but he was tough as hell.”

“Moonbeam, who died saving my life.” Blastwave spoke up beside Amber, raising her glass in the air. “She didn't even hesitate. Goodbye, Danielle.”

“Ash.” Lucky said unexpectedly. The others looked over at him, and he added defiantly, “He was one of us, and Doctor Ecchs destroyed him.” There was a pause, and then nods.

“Mayfly.” Jhim finished. “She died how she lived, being a hero.”

Everyone took a long drink, and Amber picked up again. “We couldn't be here today without them. We're stronger for knowing them, better having fought beside them. All of them, and so many others, believed that we could make the world a better place.”

She smiled, wiping tears out of her eyes. “And we are going to make the world a better place. They entrusted us with the future, and I don't intend to let them down. I don't know what's going to come next.”

“Danger, probably.” Nina said with certainty.

“Threats to life and limb.” Lucky added with a wry smile.

“Nothing we haven't handled before.” Jhim nodded.

Amber nodded back. “Nothing we won't handle again.” She said. “There will be more threats, more people who think that they're more important than anyone else, or that they can do whatever they want. We're not just going to be protecting one city anymore. We're the Alpha Team, apparantly, and that means we have a lifetime of work ahead of us. It's not going to be easy. It probably won't always be fun. But it will definitely be exciting.” She looked at everyone gathered around her, and refilled her glass. “The future is going to be a busy place, and I have only one thing to say about that.

“Let's do this.”


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