A Change of Pace – Chapter 37

Lilly curled into a ball under the warm blankets. The mid-day sunlight was streaming in through the window revealing the dust in the air. She smiled as the little mites danced in the golden beams. Her body echoed the warmth of the sun; gentle and content. Today had started out pretty damn perfect.

“Don’t wait up for me,” Seth was pulling on dress pants and a collared shirt. “I’ve got a long class and then some other stuff I have to take care of.” Lilly couldn’t help but sneak a peek at her half naked man.

<Other stuff,> Lilly didn’t react to the cryptic statement. It wasn’t really a code word they were using, but only an idiot wouldn’t see that “other stuff” really meant “HCP stuff”. Seth just didn’t want to lie to her about it. Lilly actually thought it was sweet he wanted to be as honest as possible with her. He never outright admitted that he was in the HCP, but he never outright denied it either.

“Mmhmm,” Lilly’s reply was muffled by the comforter she’d pulled back over herself. She didn’t want to get caught staring. She was a bit of a voyeur when she felt like it.

“How about we meet for dinner? Six sound good? You pick the place,” Seth finished synching his belt against his flat stomach.

“Anywhere but Sprout,” they both laughed. As bad as that night had been, some good had come out of it.

“Have a good afternoon, babe,” Seth pulled back the covers to give Lilly a goodbye kiss.

It was more a goodbye make out session than a goodbye kiss. Lilly felt her body get hot all over again as she ran her hands across Seth’s broad chest. She nearly pulled her hunk of a man down for round two. He would have gone along if she’d insisted, she literally had him by the balls now; but she knew he had stuff to do. And so did she.

Lilly disengaged her lips from his with a purr. Seth’s face was flush, and she felt stiffness against her leg that indicated he was just waiting for the go ahead to jump her bones.

“Have a good afternoon,” she taunted with an evil grin, twirling her hair for extra effect.

Seth groaned as he got off of her, rearranged his pants to avoid embarrassment, and left the room with a backwards glance.

<Shouldn’t have done that,> Seth’s absence didn’t stop the heat that was coursing through Lilly’s body. She thought about taking care of herself real quick, but quickly dismissed the idea. It would just serve as extra motivation to get back to him tonight. Then she’d have her fun. Plus, she’d left all her toys back in her dorm room.

With a groan that matched Seth’s she threw the comforter off her naked body and started to collect some things. The first things were a towel and toiletries. She needed to shower and wash the sex stank off her before going out. Then she’d need to pop home, grab a few things, and then get down to the day’s real business.

Lilly emerged into the hallway just as the other people in the dorm were heading out. Kyoshi gave her a look over and a friendly nod, Angela didn’t even acknowledge her existence, and Becca wiggled her eyes brows provocatively. Lilly knew the walls were thin, and they’d all probably heard what she and Seth had been doing. She couldn’t help that she was a bit of a screamer, and they both liked it a little rough.

“Have a good day, guys,” she put on a sweet smile as Becca and Kyoshi returned the compliment. Angela just gave a barely noticeable nod.

All of the HCP students were dressed nicely, much nicer than she’d ever seen them before they headed off to their three day a week class. <Must be some sort of presentation. Probably a midterm,> she considered where they were in the school year, while making sure to hide her thoughts until twenty minutes after Kyoshi left. Lilly had no idea what the taller Super’s range was.

The warm shower helped take Lilly’s mind off her ravenous libido, and allowed her to focus on the afternoon. She left the townhouse smelling clean, fresh, and with a clear mind. She walked a couple of blocks into a shadow filled alleyway before teleporting home.

The blast of darkness gave her a heads up that her dad was nearby. “Hey, Daddy,” Lilly called out once the darkness dissipated.

“Welcome home, Daughter,” Altair rounded the corner with a smile, and gave his only child a big bear hug. “What brings you home? How is the plan progressing?”

He was digging for details, but she didn’t have time. “Everything is right on schedule, Dad,” she smiled sweetly, but started moving. “I’m here on other business.”

“Anything I should be concerned about?”

Lilly kept smiling. She knew her father was fishing for information; even the tiniest bit and he’d be able to put together what her plan was. He was a master problem solver like that.

“Nope,” one word answers were never enough, but he took it in stride.

“How is Seth? Is he treating you well?” These questions came as a bit of a surprise, since he knew better than to pry into her relationships.

<Oh, you’re just asking for it.> Lilly stopped and turned on her father.

“Seth is a perfect gentleman…until I don’t want him to be,” that got the response she was looking for. Altair’s eyes narrowed, his head twisted slightly, and his mouth was set in a hard line. Fathers had a natural adverse reaction when the found out someone was giving it to their daughter. “Any other questions?” Lilly tried to look as innocent as possible.

Altair wisely kept his mouth shut.

“Love you, Daddy,” she gave him a peck on the cheek, and rushed up to her room.

Everything was just how she’d left it; disorderly, clothes everywhere, and she’d forgotten to close her fire engine red lipstick. <I’ll have to pick up more later.>

                Seth would have had a heart attack if he stepped into this room. He as much neater than Lilly, but just about everyone was. Lilly trudged through the mounds of clothes on the floor like she was walking through a snow storm. She had to kick a rather large pile a few times so that she could open the door to her closet enough for her to squeeze through.

When she eventually got around to cleaning her room, the walk-in closet space would be full to the breaking point; but at the moment, there was plenty of space. Lilly headed straight for the back of the closet. “There you are.” She muttered to herself.

What came next was important, because everything needed to be just right. Lilly completely disrobed and started to pull on her costume; the costume she’d been saving for her big reveal.

<The jewelry store doesn’t count,> she didn’t like being reminded of that embarrassment, so she’d changed a few things up with her outfit.

First she pulled on a thong, because her pants wouldn’t allow anything else. The custom made pants, with a sown in Kevlar weave were tight with a capitol T. They needed to be tight. Lilly wasn’t going to make the news, get on the cover of magazines, or get her potential fan base motivated if she went out in baggy cargo pants. Lilly looker herself over in the mirror and liked what she saw. <All that running, lunges, and squats are paying off.>

Next she pulled on a sports bra; that was a necessity. Being a supervillain was the ultimate sport. Over the sports bra, Lilly pulled on a breathable black turtleneck. She checked herself in the mirror, and she was sure she’d still win the hearts of boys and men everywhere. She might even convince a few women to start batting for the other team.

Over the custom black turtleneck went her bulletproof vest. Lilly’s father had taken it off of a tech genius he’d killed, and given it to her for her sixteenth birthday. The vest, black to match the rest of her outfit, was deceivingly light, and a lot stronger than what the average infantry soldier was equipped with. This thing would stop a .50 caliber round with minimum bruising.

<Don’t want to be all black and blue when I see Seth,> Lilly thought as she zipped up the front of the vest and then velcroed the overlapping sides.

Now fully clothed, Lilly retrieved the armored plates from the top shelf of her closet. Both the turtleneck and pants had been outfitted with little pockets where the thin plates could be inserted to provide added protection. They went in over and behind her shins, thighs, forearms, and outer biceps. The plates were another tech genius invention. They felt gelatinous, and moved like an extra layer of skin, until they encountered kinetic energy. Then they instantaneously hardened. They could stop rounds from an assault rifle or a knife. The only parts of her body left unprotected were her joints, neck, and ass. Plates over her world class behind would look like implants, and that would just ruin the photo ops.

Now that she was clothed and armored, Lilly began to load up. Twin holsters fit perfectly on either hip to hold her modified Glock 40s. She knew from experience they felt like getting kicked by a horse, and she’d personally added the targeting lasers so she didn’t miss her target. The silencers went in a nearby pocket.

There was a whole bunch of interesting ammunition in the clips on her utility belt. She’d been training for years, and instinctually knew which was which. She had standard, tranquilizer, poisoness, high explosive, EMP, and even a magazine of ammo to make it look like you’d been shot but was mostly just red food dye.

<Be prepared for any situation or else you are prepared for nothing,> her father always said, and those were words to live by.

An assortment of knives, both tactical and throwing, were scattered at various points around Lilly’s costume. Her extendable batons went on her thighs below the Glocks. A third pistol, this one a lot smaller, went into a specially designed slot on the outside of her right combat boot. A police issued taser went on the front of her vest for easy access. Lastly, half a dozen grenades were tucked into her utility belt, or placed into pockets in her vest. She doubted she’d need them for this mission, but better safe than sorry.

Another look in the mirror made Lilly look like a one woman army. She hid her smile beneath an updated black volto mask, where the facial expression was frozen in a wicked grin. The second to last part of the costume was a black scarf that went around her throat. She’d gotten the idea from pictures of Special Forces operators she’d seen. It looked totally bad ass, so she copied it. The fact that the reinforced fabric could stop a low caliber bullet was an added bonus. Last, but not least, was a body length, black hooded cloak.

Lilly was the first to admit it was a little ostentatious, and could pose a problem in hand to hand combat, but she could always teleport it away in a pinch. Unless shit hit the fan, the cloak was well worth the risk. First off, it was another added layer of protection. Lilly knew she might be going a bit overboard with all the Kevlar, armored plates, and tech genius additions; but she really didn’t want to get shot. Especially in the ass, that was the money maker. The cloak would protect her valuable asset, and then when all the gunfire stopped she could sweep it aside for a dramatic pose.

<I can see it now,> Lilly got distracted for a few moments, trying various poses to highlight her lethal femininity.

                In addition to protection, the cloak carried dozens of tiny sensors, which transmitted a picture of what was going on behind her to the clear lenses of her mask. This way, no one could sneak up and literally stab her in the back. It was well worth the outrageous cost, and additional mind wiping fee.

The final part of Lilly’s outfit was her hair. She couldn’t let anyone know she was a natural brunette, or see the dyed blonde hair she was using for her undercover work; so she wore a wig. The wig was a pure white single braid, which she let drape over one shoulder. It was the wig’s contrast that she loved. It would also throw off the Heroes.

She fastened the final piece of the costume to the black skull cap that she hid her real hair under. <Perfection.>

                The woman looking back at Lilly in the mirror was a certified bad ass to the extreme. She looked like death incarnate. <I am Wraith,> the serious thought was punctuated by excited giggles. <Now let’s show the world.>

 

***

 

Lilly teleported to a few secure locations before appearing in Mika’s new digs. The teenage technopath had taken her advice and relocated after the incident with that skank, Jewel. It was a good thing too; people had come looking for the whore, and they weren’t the friendly type. Jewel ended up showing up a few days later, memory of the past week completely forgotten, but that wasn’t before the club bouncers caught her pimp and his entourage sneaking around. It had been ugly, the police had been called, and the whole property had been searched. Thankfully, Mika paid in cash, and was long gone before it happened.

As a result of the whole experience, and Lilly liked to think her mentorship skills had something to do with it; Mika had decided to move up in the world. He’d done a few jobs, banked a little money, and found a swanky office to lease.

<In the fucking Willis Tower!> Lilly was lucky she was wearing a mask, or the whole façade she kept up around the hormonal teen would have been broken.

Some things were still the same though. The cooling fans for all the electronics were still humming their eternal hymn, and the tools Mika was working with had their own chorus to add. Thankfully, the place didn’t smell like grease and BO anymore. Lilly even spotted the deactivated sentry droid in the corner.

“Uh…holy shit, Shadow…I mean Wraith,” Mika was staring open mouthed as she appeared in the middle of his fiftieth floor office.

“Now that’s a hot view,” Lilly quickly recovered, putting extra sultry in her tone.

The skyline of Chicago stretched out below her. It was a breathtaking sight. “Glad you like it,” Mika was smiling like an idiot while his eyes traced her figure. “You look like you’re going to war.”

“Every job has the potential to be an all-out war, hot stuff. Don’t ever forget that,” Lilly knew Mika was too busy ogling her to take it her advice.

“Not this job,” he grinned confidently.

<That’s something new,> Lilly pretended not to notice, but made a mental note to see what Mika had done while she was busy living the college life.

“I got the essentials from your email. Are there any updates?” Lilly took the seat in front of Mika’s desk.

The technopath, despite his new station in life, was still surrounded by clutter; organized clutter, but still clutter. There just wasn’t enough space to put all his components, especially when the new office was much smaller than the club basement he used to work out of. His desk was covered with so many monitors Lilly could barely see the boy when she was sitting down.

“Here’s the latest info I have,” Mika turned one of the screens one hundred and eighty degrees so she could see.

The date on the document was today, so that was a good sign. <Good job, kid.>

The job that Mika had sold to Lilly back when she was having dinner with Seth and her father was a simple armored car robbery. It was a little cliché as far as criminal activity went, but it was used so often in T.V. and movies for a reason. An armored car was a moving safe. Safes could be cracked if you knew enough about them, and security was always at its lowest when it was in transit. Robbing an armored car was a hell of a lot easier than robbing a bank, and you could get an entire vault’s worth of cash if you hit it at the right time.

With Mika’s custom programming, and hacking skills, he’d been mapping a particular armored car’s route for a while; so he knew exactly when and where to hit it. Plus, he’d been able to get into the company’s system and see exactly what they were hauling. If Lilly’s schedule was a little more flexible then they’d be able to hit it on the day they could steal the most, but she didn’t have that option.

<My primary mission is Seth…I mean getting Kemps through Seth,> Lilly reminded herself when she saw the inventory of what she’d be pilfering. <This is just a little workout to avoid getting rusty.> A smile crept back beneath her mask. <And the media loves a good armored car robbery.>

                “So we’re looking at three hundred thousand in cash, and probably the two hundred in precious stones,” Lilly kept her voice cold and professional. This wasn’t the time to flirt and manipulate the kid.

“That’s half a million bucks,” Mika was a lot more excited than Lilly was. She’d done jobs in the seven figures before, and even the jewelry job that screwed up her big debut had netted more than this.

<And I didn’t have to split that,> Lilly reminded herself that she wasn’t doing this for the money.

“So half a mil split fifty-fifty is a quarter mil for each of us,” Mika was still smiling.

“Whoa there big guy,” Lilly might not be doing this for the money, but there were certain principles at stake. “You and I both know that the standard cut for intel is twenty percent, while the people actually doing the robbing get eighty.”

The smile vanished form the young technopath’s face. “Come on, Wraith, don’t be like that. I brought this to you. The least you can do is be fair with me.”

<He’s standing up to me, bargaining,> Lilly resisted her initial instinct to break his thumbs. <You knew this would happen eventually,> she took a deep and considered her options.

Lilly was now regretting wearing the vest. If she wasn’t, she’d be able to use her feminine wiles to get a better deal. Her other asset was currently planted on top of the chair, so she couldn’t use that without being awkward; and there was no way she was showing him her face.

<I really shouldn’t hurt him,> Lilly’s mind scrambled for another angle.

“Mika,” she drew out the name passionately. “We’re friends aren’t we?” she was pouting under the mask. “Why are you doing this to me?”

“What…I’m not…this is what’s fair, Wraith,” her velvety voice was enough to throw the kid off his game.

“It’s not fair that little old me has to go face all those guys with guns. I could get hurt, maybe even shot, Mika. I might need that money for the hospital bills. That’s why things are split like that,” Lilly put as much hurt into her voice as she was willing to risk. She didn’t want to come off as weak.

<I’m going to have to show more T and A next time I’m here,> Lilly made another mental note.

The friend comment and risk of injury seemed to work with the young Super. Probably, since he thought being friends was the first step to becoming more than friends. Lilly let his hormonal brain do the rest of the work for her.

“How about seventy thirty,” Mika countered. “I think being friends earns me an extra ten percent more than the usual deal.”

It wasn’t quite what Lilly wanted, but she didn’t have time to argue. “Deal.” They shook on it; his burned and calloused limb easily wrapping around her daintier, gloved hand. “Now show me where to go.”

Fifteen minutes later Lilly was sitting on a bluff overlooking a road, surrounded by desert, in the middle of Nevada. <I’m regretting my costume decision,> she could feel the perspiration through her multiple, thick layers.

There was a difference between Florida heat and Nevada heat. Florida heat was humid, and made you feel like you were swimming through simmering, swampy air. Nevada was dry heat, the type that roasted you alive if you stayed in it too long. Both were equally uncomfortable, but getting used to one didn’t prepare you for the other.

“Target is approaching,” there was edge of excitement in Mika’s voice. The technopath was acting like this was operation was straight out of a James Bond movie. He even wanted Lilly to call him Nano.

“Roger that…Nano,” Lilly tried not to sound too exasperated. She thought the name was stupid because it literally meant really small; there were just so many penis jokes waiting for the unsuspecting Super if he kept it. Still, she was trying to worm her way into a better position to manipulate him; so now was not the time to argue.

Lilly had her back to a giant sandstone bolder, and was doing her best to squeeze into the large rock’s shadow. It wasn’t doing much good. She peaked over the top and engaged the telescopic function on her mask.

<God I love being rich,> her mask activated and the view of the road sharpened to ten times human normal. <Whoever said money couldn’t buy you happiness must have been some poor schmuk who never had any. Money can buy you anything you want.>

She could see the armored truck approaching. “Nano, it isn’t alone,” there wasn’t panic in Lilly’s voice. If anything it was frustration. This job was turning into more of a hassle than she wanted it to.

“Shit,” the technopath must have been realigning a satellite or two because it took him a few seconds to respond. “I don’t understand, why does a small run need an escort.”

Lilly scowled as she watched the black Escalade turn a corner just before the armored vehicle. Its windows were so heavily tinted that even with her magnified vision she couldn’t see how many people were inside. However, she was able to get a look through the clear glass at the armored truck’s single driver.

“Anything on the plate?” Lilly asked.

There wasn’t a lot of time left. The two car convoy was still a few miles away, but moving at sixty five miles an hour only gave Lilly two or three minutes to make the call.

“Nothing out of the ordinary,” Mika replied after checking it against the local DMVs. “Infra-red has four guys in the back of the armored truck, but I can’t get a read on the Caddy. It’s got some kind of shielding.”

<Well that confirms something.> Lilly knew there were only three types of people who had infra-red shielding on their vehicles; the government, high class criminals, and private sector companies that were paranoid enough about security. Whichever one it was, this operation was getting more questionable by the second.

Lilly smiled at the challenge. Either way she was going to get on people’s radar. Her name was going to make waves.

“We can still do this, Nano; but I’m going to have to insist on the eighty twenty split now,” Lilly had the leverage she needed to push the younger Super. “This shit just got a whole lot more complicated, and I’m not sticking my neck out unless I get the full cut. That’s nothing against you, or our friendship,” she added. “I’m just being practical about how ugly this could get.”

She heard grumbling over the line, but Mika accepted; and proved that his feelings for Lilly were more important than the money. <Excellent.>

“The plan doesn’t change. I’ll improvise with the SUV. Let me know when you’re ready,” Lilly focused on the large, black Cadillac. It was only a half mile away now.

“We’re ready in three…two…one…”

There wasn’t some big explosion to take out the armored truck; this wasn’t Hollywood. Doing that would harm the merchandise, which was the whole point of the job. At least it was for most people. Instead, the armored vehicle gradually began to decelerate. Mika had been able to hack into the vehicle’s onboard computer system and take control remotely. The little genius had also done the calculations so it would roll to a stop right in front of Lilly’s concealed position. That just left the unexpected guest to deal with.

Lilly pulled a grenade from one of her vest’s front pockets. She double checked to make sure it was one of the high explosive ones before pulling the pin. She held it flat in her right hand for two seconds before it vanished in a puff of darkness. There was a second flash that nearly went unnoticed against the tinted windshield of the oncoming vehicle. Whoever was driving the SUV hadn’t noticed that the armored truck was falling further and further behind.

The Cadillac was directly in front of Lilly when the grenade went off. It was definitely more along the lines of something you’d see in action movies.

A ball of fire leapt into the air as the vehicle swerved violently off the road. Lilly didn’t need a close look to see that it hadn’t done nearly as much damage as it should have. The windshield had cracked but not shattered like physics stated it should, and although the engine was definitely disabled, it wasn’t a mangled ball of metal. <A fucking armored car,> adrenaline was pumping through her now.

Lilly pulled a second grenade, this one a harmless smoke grenade. She pulled the pin and teleported it between where the armored car was going to roll to a stop, and where the burning, but still mostly intact SUV had crashed into a ditch. A second small puff of darkness was quickly drowned out as thick grey smoke obscured the scene.

<Showtime,> Lilly just hoped there were cameras in the massive transport to catch the upcoming awesomeness. Lilly stood up to her full height, stretched, drew one of her Glocks, and loaded an appropriate magazine. In a blast of darkness she was gone.

“What the hell!” the driver of the armored truck was still busy pressing buttons and stomping on the gas when the cab was suddenly black as night. When the darkness finally cleared he found a pistol pressed up against the bottom of his jaw.

“Good afternoon,” Lilly stated brightly. She was enjoying this. “If you would please hit that little button to open the back doors I’d be eternally grateful. Little ol’ me doesn’t want to have to have to bang on the door and threaten torturous bodily harm on your friends back there.”

“What?” the guy was still too busy coming to grips with being a second away from getting his head blown off.

“Press button…open door…you live,” Lilly dropped her voice as low as it could go, but avoided pounding her free hand against her chest like a gorilla. She pushed the pistol a little deeper into the man’s flesh for emphasis.

“Y…yeah,” the man’s hand scrambled to obey the order he was finally comprehending. Lilly watched it closely to make sure he didn’t try anything.

There was a loud pop as the door unlocked, followed by the sound of the guards in the back screaming into their radios. “You know,” Lilly placed her free hand under her chin in a thinker’s pose. “I hate it that you guys only make like fifteen bucks an hour. You’ve got to put up with all this shit for chump change. Tell you what, when you wake up, I’ll make sure you’ve got a couple grand stuffed in your pants. Hopefully no one will find it,” she forced out a laugh, pulled the weapon away, and shot the man in the thigh.

The guys scream was high pitched, but short lived, as the tranquilizer round quickly spread through his blood stream. “Sonofa…” the man’s slurred words dropped off as he entire body went limp, pulling the seatbelt taut.

<One down four more to go,> and two of those guards were standing on either side of the vehicle, pointed machine guns at her, and telling her to get out with her hands in the air.

To humor them, Lilly put her hands in the air just before they both disappeared in flashed of darkness. The first guard reappeared twenty feet above the top of the incapacitated SUV. He fell the distance with a scream, hitting the roof hard and rolling off the top either unconscious or with enough broken bones to take him out of the fight. The second guard appeared above the boulder Lilly had been hiding behind. He fell a shorter distance, hit the large rock, and proceeded to roll down the hill. He hit a few more rocks and one too many cactuses before he landed in an unconscious heap at the bottom.

<Two more to go,> this time Lilly got out of the vehicle.

She skipped to the back, white braid swinging in front of her, and pounded on the side before calling out. “Gentlemen, if you’d please throw your weapons out the rear of the vehicle then I promise not do to you what I did to your two friends.”

There were mumbles as they deliberated, but Lilly wasn’t going to give them much time. “Three..two…one…”

“Ok!” one of the guards yelled, and followed it by tossing his machine gun out the back. It was an older model MP5, but still in pretty good condition.

“Your other weapons please,” Lilly wasn’t stupid enough to think that they were just packing one. The softer clatter of pistols hitting asphalt reached her ears. “Now, both of you come out with your hands behind you heads.”

Lilly kept her Glock leveled on the two men as they stepped around the edge of the open door. Both were complying with her instructions. “Excellent, pants money for both of you,” the last look on the two men’s face was complete confusion before she shot them both in the leg. Two seconds and they were as useful as a sack of potatoes.

With all of the threats eliminated, Lilly holstered her pistol and went to work. The cash was the easiest to find, stuffed into a bunch of black bags. Lilly dug through them to find the explosive dye packets. She didn’t want blue ink ruining the score.

“Reinforcements are five minutes out,” Mika chimed in, as he watched the police racing down the desert road through a satellite feed.

“Plenty of time,” Lilly teleported the inspected bags back to an abandoned Chicago warehouse that Mika was operating out of.

Next up were the diamonds. They were even easier than the cash. Lilly grabbed the lockbox’s key from one of the unconscious security guards and unlocked them. She carefully emptied them into a black, velvet bag she’d brought along, and then teleported it back to Chicago.

“Done, with three minutes to spare,” Lilly gave herself a pat on the back before she turned to leave.

A small glint caught her eye before she stepped out of the truck. It was a stainless steel briefcase that was tucked underneath one of the seats the guards usually sat on. It wasn’t big enough to have that much cash in it, but if it was full of diamonds, there would be millions in there. Lilly tried to pick it up, but it was magnetically glued to the truck.

“Wraith, what’s the hold up?” Mika asked.

“I found a briefcase, it could be interesting,” Lilly replied, searching the truck for something to deactivate the magnets. She searched for a full minute.

“Shit,” she growled in frustration, she hated abandoning a potential treasure trove.

“Nano, I’m…”

“WRAITH, GET OUT NOW!” Mika screamed over the coms, nearly deafening her. Lilly would have screamed back if something didn’t hit the truck with the force of a charging rhino.

The multi-ton armored vehicle was thrown on its side by the force of the hit. It slid until it hit the edge of the road, and then turned over again as it fell into the same roadside ditch that the SUV was sitting in. Lilly teleported out before it made the drop into the ditch.

Lilly didn’t compensate, so her teleport deposited her hundred feet down the road, but horizontally, and few feet off the ground. “Ugh,” the short drop still knocked the wind out of her, but she knew better than to sit there like a lamb at the slaughter.

“Secure the package,” a calm, feminine voice, ordered. The ground shook slightly as heavy footfalls made their way toward the overturned truck. “I’ll take care of this one.”

Lilly’s momentarily swimming vision was focusing again, so she caught sight of a women in a royal blue and sunlight yellow costume approaching her.

“No thank you, I’m fine,” in a fluid motion she aimed her pistol and unloaded it into the Heroes chest.

The woman moved with surprising quickness, avoiding the first few rounds, but then taking the rest in her center of mass. She stumbled slightly from the transfer of kinetic energy, but none of the bullets penetrated her outfit.

<I hate Heroes,> Lilly had enough time to grab and extend a baton before the woman was on her. <Damn she good.>

                There was a few seconds of flurried punches and counters. Lilly was able to tag the woman in the knee with a solid hit, but sacrificed a punch to the ribs for her effort. Both women disengaged; the Hero limping, and Lilly wheezing for breath.

“It’s been fun.” It hurt to smile, but Lilly tried to give the Hero a cheery one before teleporting away.

Except she couldn’t.

Lilly’s bodied flickered like a disembodied spirit, and darkness leaked off her in waves, but she didn’t go anywhere.

“Leaving already,” the Hero taunted, shaking out her leg and testing her weight on it. “We were just getting started.

<Fuck me,> Lilly felt genuine fear for the first time in a long time. She quickly suppressed it, not letting the Hero see her indecision.

“If you want to keep partying you better buy me a drink,” Lilly’s replied with heavy sarcasm, but her mind was working overtime to develop a plan.

<She’s a nullifier, but not a top tier one,> that much could be explained by her flicker and shadow ooze. <She can weakly disrupt powers at a minimum range, or she needs bodily contact. I need time and distance.> Lilly started to move backwards while simultaneously grabbing her Glock.

The woman moved when she saw Lilly move, but she wasn’t as fast with her injured knee. Lilly aimed for sensitive areas as she continued to back pedal. Two rounds bounced off the helmet the Hero was wearing, snapping her neck to the side, but she kept on coming. She knew what Lilly’s plan was.

Lilly caught a break when she hit the woman in her injured knee. A scream escaped the woman’s lips as she stumbled and fell. Lilly took the opportunity to turn and run.

Lilly’s powerful legs pumped up and down with everything she had. She added momentum by swinging her arms and leaning into it. In between strides she ejected the empty tranquilizer magazine, stowed the baton on her hip, and loaded the pistol with something with a little more punch. She dared a quick look back, and saw the Hero back on her feet and in hot pursuit.

Firing a weapon blindly over your shoulder was never a good idea. They made it look like it actually worked in the movies, but in reality, you weren’t going to hit what you weren’t aiming at. You were more likely to his an innocent bystander, but they never showed that in the critical chase scene. Firing blindly also wasn’t going to deter anyone that had been shot at before. Average Joe on the street might cower at the sound of gunfire, but a Hero most definitely would not.

Lilly knew all this, and still fired blindly behind her. The young supervillain was ok with it because she wasn’t trying to hit the Hero. The rounds randomly impacted the ground fifteen feet away from the Hero, but the miniaturized explosive warheads in the tips did their job. Small chunks of asphalt from the explosions became projectiles; peppering the perusing Hero.

“Holy shit,” Lilly smiled at the Heroes exclamation, and only looked back long enough to see she’d dived for cover.

The Heroes costume might be bullet proof, but it wasn’t explosion proof.

<Hopefully this works,> Lilly tried to teleport again. She flickered, and there was more oozing darkness, but she jumped forward another hundred feet. <It’s working,> she stumbled when she reappeared, but she quickly got back into her stride. Time and distance were working.

A few seconds later, the shaking ground told her she didn’t have a lot of that left.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Lilly peaked behind her to see a large man in a tight, gray, sleeveless costume sprinting towards her. He was moving a lot faster than her, and was going to overtake her quickly.

<Fucking strongman,> this one didn’t have the kind look she always saw on Mason’s face. Although she hadn’t seen it, she’d bet a BJ on that boy being one of those Supers who could lift big, heavy things. <Kyoshi’s a lucky woman,> Lilly was convinced that wasn’t the only big thing about Mason.

The thought wasn’t helpful in the moment, as the charging man got closer and closer with every stride. <Fuck it!> Lilly stopped, turned, and unloaded the whole magazine of explosive rounds into the second Hero.

A fat lot of good that did. She might as well have been shooting him with paintballs. The big guys continued charging through the smoke and fire without a care in the world.

Lilly focused again and tried to teleport. It was better this time, and she appeared three hundred feet at a diagonal angel away from the Hero. All the man did was stutter step, reacquire her, and continue the charge.

It was a game of cat and mouse. The strongman would continue his relentless charge, and Lilly would teleport a bit farther every time. She hypothesized that the nullifier’s power had a lingering effect, and the more time that passed, the more her power returned. She was starting to feel it too, like a door was being forced open to let in the light; or in her case, the darkness.

A few minutes of the game, and the frustration was beginning to show on the man’s face. After another teleport, this one over six hundred feet, Lilly felt something inside her snap back into place.

“This has been fun, big guy,” Lilly swept her cloak aside to strike a dramatic side pose; with her hands on her hip, and her ass popping out to the side.

<There’s the money shot,> she knew the Hero had to have some recording device on him, and this footage would be made public knowledge to help with the search for her.

“But I gotta run. Wraith out,” she disappeared in a blast of shadow right before the strongman crashed into her.

Lilly reappeared in the warehouse where Mika was intently watching his computer screens. “Wraith!” he yelled a little too loud, jumping up when the darkness dissipated to reveal her.

“That’s me,” Lilly stumbled and fell on her ass as exhaustion overwhelmed her.

As the adrenaline faded, so did her reprieve from the pain. Her ribs screamed at her with every breath. <Probably cracked one; stupid Hero bitch.> Her shoulder throbbed from where she’d hit the side of the armored truck when it was rolling, and her boobs were tender from her asphalt face plant.

“Jesus you don’t look good,” Mika couldn’t see a single bruise on Lilly’s totally concealed body, but her posture was informative enough.

“I’ll leave the fencing of the diamonds, and depositing of the cash to you, Nano,” using the code name brought an involuntary grin to the technopath’s lips. “I expect my full cut in the usual account in the next twenty four hours, and I’ll come back if you need backup fencing the diamonds.”

“I’ve already got a guy lined up,” Mika beamed proudly.

“Cool,” Lilly tried not to wince as she got to her feet. “I’m gonna go get healed, and then I’ve got other work to get started on.” Mika looked a little disappointed that this seemed to be the end of their adventure, but Lilly’s growing pain wasn’t conducive to her caring.

“Nice working with you, Nano. I’ll see you soon,” another blast of shadow and she was gone.

Lilly made sure to stop off in a couple spots, all international, before heading home. She completed her last teleport so that she landed in her comfy bed. Its memory foam mattress adjusting to the contours of her injured body.

“Dad, can you call the healer!” she immediately regretted making the request when she heard hurried footsteps racing down the hallway.

<Damnit, he’s going to want me to lie in bed for a day before I go back,> she thought about the plans she had with Seth, and she was not willing to cancel over a bruised shoulder, sore boobs, and a cracked rib. <Seth will just have to go easy on me tonight,> she had her mask off, and was smiling by the time Altair arrived.

It wasn’t until later, when the icy sensation of the healing was flooding through her, that Lilly realized her error. <Damnit! I forgot to stick money down those guys’ pants.>

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