<Why the hell did I agree to do this?> Daisy wondered.
She was lying on a beach. The sunlight was streaming in overhead from a cloudless sky. The temperature had just crept back into the eighties, so it felt perfect coupled with the soft sea-breeze coming in off the Atlantic. If she wanted to try, she guessed that the water was probably decently warm too.
It was, by all stretches of reality, paradise.
“You did it because you’re a good person. Well, fifty one percent because of that. The other forty-nine percent is because you’re the low woman on the totem pole.”
Hands started to caress her back sending dual shocks of pleasure and anticipation up her spine. They were oily though, which told her that this caress was half massage, half making sure she had the proper amount of sun lotion for someone of her light-skinned complexion.
“Did I say that out loud too?” Daisy asked the man attached to those strong hands.
“Yeah,” Topher laughed. “I get you’re still technically working, but this is one hell of an assignment.”
Daytona Beach was alive with spring break. Just about everywhere you went was crowded with college kids looking to make memories. But at the speed most people were going they weren’t going to remember anything. Of course, that group also included the guests at a posh, private resort at the end of the beach.
The HCP had been doing business with the resort, actually owned by a retired Hero couple, for the last decade. It was always safer for the HCP to provide a safe and secure outlet for the students to drink their faces off during the short holiday. The hotel itself was actually concealed behind a mirage, and people who found themselves wandering too close to the property’s private beech suddenly found important things they needed to do elsewhere. The property’s proprietors were able to keep up the illusion easily enough, and for the price the school was paying them they better.
“You say that now,” Daisy tried to grumble, but his knuckles kneading her shoulder blades felt too good. “But just wait until someone gets launched half a mile out to sea, or lightening starts striking during the middle the day. A fire burning down the hotels is going to be the least of our problems.”
“Is she being a Debbie-Downer?” Another man walked up to the sun-bathing couple.
“She’s her usual charming self, Craig.” Topher answered.
“Glad to hear it,” the speedster gave the couple a critical stare. “Anything to report?”
“Aren’t you supposed to be watching them too?” Daisy huffed, sitting up onto her elbows.
Then she realized she’d undone her bikini top to get a better tan, and quickly plopped back down onto her sizeable chest.
Topher noticed, Craig pretended not to.
“Um. . .well, I’ve got my own surveillance operation going.”
Not too far away a small tornado of sand was forming thanks to a ten-year-old redhead running in super speed circles.
“Shit, gotta go. Rosalie!” His yell faded as he blurred across the beach.
“Supervillains couldn’t bring down that man, but a ten-year-old and a seven-year-old might just pull it off.” Daisy mused as Craig fussed with his speedster daughters. “I pity that man in a few years.”
“Why?” Topher continued to massage bliss and relaxation into her back.
“Oh.” Topher’s shudder translated down into his massage. “Yeah. I remember Debora being a raging bitch for about five years.”
“Be nice,” Daisy chided him, swatting behind her but failing to hit anything. “Plus, I don’t think the raging bitch thing ever ended.”
They both laughed, and for a moment it felt like a real vacation. But it was more than that.
This week was the week. Despite how everything was going now, Topher had been very reluctant to take time off at work to spend a week at the beach. The Orlando PD was still busy hunting down the last few remnants of the Fist, and a select few need-to-know people were preparing for the likely next attack. Topher was one of those need-to-know people with his DVA clearances. So pulling him away from the planning process had taken the silver bullet in her arsenal.
Today was the week she’d decided to screw his brains out.
He had the leave signed off on in about ten minutes when she broke the news to him.
So here they were. Sitting on a paradise inspired beach. She was topless and he was massaging her back. The only thing missing was cheap seventies music and this could be the start of any number of pornos.
But if she could rely on anything with Topher, it was for him to be a gentleman. Even if she wished he’d be the one to initiate. All he had to do was slide one of his hands over her back, down, her side and he’d be able to cop a feel of some side boob. Then it would be on like Donkey Kong on Viagra.
But he didn’t and the vision of them humping like bunnies in heat quickly faded from her mind. Her attention turned back to the students.
Even having two of their professors sitting roughly two hundred feet away wasn’t stopping them. Every drinking game imaginable was being played by everyone from the underage freshmen to the seniors who were supposed to be setting a good example.
Daisy watched with an amused smirk as giant Mason Jackson tried to master flip cup. It was not going well. When you could easily envelop a red solo cup in your hand you tended to have a little trouble. If Jackson was bad than Kyoshi Schultz was downright embarrassing.
<They need to do a study on that girl.> Daisy concluded.
The advanced-mind had lethal grace when in the combat cells, but ask her to walk a straight line completely somber and she looked like she was six shots into an all-night ragger. Daisy already knew the younger Super was playing up the clumsiness during her other classes to divert attention from her Super hair and eyes, but not everything she was doing was an act.
As if on cue, Schultz went running from one station of the booze game to the next. Tripped on the sand, got said sand into a dozen cups of cheap beer, and face planted hard. Jackson was at her side in a second, but it was already too late.
“Can you strap me up back there you big strong man.” Daisy put a little sultry in her voice just to drive Topher crazy. “Thanks.” She sat up and made sure her boobs wouldn’t pop out in front of her students. “Give me a minute, I need to check on clutz-zilla over there.”
Angela watched the nonstop party from the edges. She had her book open on the towel in front of her and was trying to study. It was hard with all the drunken yells coming from her inebriated classmates, and then there was the sand. Sand got everywhere; on her towel, in her book, and in her bathing suit. It was a royal pain in the ass…literally.
Finally, she couldn’t concentrate anymore. Coach Meyers was marching toward the tables where Kyoshi had just fallen. Angela suppressed a twinge of jealousy as the athletically built, tall, busty instructor glided across the sand. Becca and Kyoshi had helped Angela get over her body issues during the first semester. Alec also helped; telling her she was beautiful always brightened her day. Lastly, seven months of HCP training had finally stripped off the last of the stubborn baby fat. She still had more of a muscular build than most women, but she had basically accepted it.
But then Coach Meyers started walking around in a bikini and Angela just had to know her workout regimen. The woman was beauty, brains, and brawn all in a six foot three Barbie package.
Angela shook her head and banished the thoughts. She was supposed to be the freshmen class monitor and Kyoshi injuring herself fell underneath her job responsibilities. Angela snapped her book shut and went to check on her friend.
“I swear, I’m just fine.” Kyoshi’s eyes were unfocused, her words slurred, and her nose leaking blood.
“You just broke your nose, Schultz.” Coach Meyers announced just as Angela arrived.
“No I didn’t.” Kyoshi protested despite the visual evidence of a distinct crook in her once perfectly straight nose.
“Babe, we probably need to get you to a hospital.” Mason put one massive hand on his girlfriend’s lower back to steady her and another comfortingly grasped her hand.
Angela saw that and suddenly wanted Alec to be here.
“Good idea, Jackson, but not necessary.” The HCP instructor pulled a slim phone out of the thin waist-strap of her bikini bottom. “I’ll make some calls and we’ll get Ms. Schultz back into fighting shape.”
Kyoshi gave a loud “Woohoo” to the news, which started a chorus of the irritating noise. Angela did not participate in it. Kyoshi saw that and turned her full drunken attention on Angela.
“Angela! Come have a drink with me.” Kyoshi tried to pull away from Mason, but he didn’t let her.
“I think we should hold off drinking until you get fixed up.” Angela crossed her arms defiantly.
They didn’t have to wait long.
Dr. Sanderson appeared with a loud pop and a puff of sand. A man in a government issued black suit stood placidly in the background as the HCP healer walked over to take a look at Kyoshi. He gave a side glance at Coach Meyers, but nothing more.
“Just a normal break,” he confirmed as golden mist detached itself from his body and flooded over Kyoshi. “That should do it.”
The mist faded leaving a rapidly blinking Kyoshi. “Did I…? Oh no.”
Apparently, Dr. Sanderson’s healing had the additional effect of sobering up the advanced mind.
“It’s ok, babe.” Mason pulled his slightly shorter, but still ridiculously tall girlfriend into a big hug. “Why don’t we go for a swim and then work on your tan.”
Mason’s skin, aside from being incredibly dark already, was also super powered. He couldn’t get a sunburn unless he was walking on the sun. Kyoshi was the opposite. Her ancestors did not come from places that worshipped the sun.
“Ok.” The now meek and embarrassed advanced mind followed her boyfriend to the water. She shot Angela and apologetic look, but Angela waved it off with a smile.
She was the monitor. This was her job.
With one problem dealt with she gave the area a quick scan. There were just under a hundred students on the trip, and just about all of them looked like they were knee deep in inebriation. She didn’t care about that. She cared about her classmates doing something they’d regret.
“Anna, if you want to fuck Jason then go back to your hotel room!” She called out as she passed the two students.
The volatile electrokinetic was practically lying on top of the freshman class’ second ranked student. Angel was pretty sure the woman was one second away from slipping off her top and letting the guy motorboat her.
<I’m the monitor.> She took comfort in that as Anna turned around and gave her the finger.
But then she did grab Jason by the hand and dragged him toward the hotel.
“Wrap it before you tap it!” She yelled after them, which got her a two-finger salute from Anna.
<That’s better.> Angela smiled to herself as she returned to her towel and her book. But she didn’t want to study.
Instead, she took out her phone and dialed a number from memory.
“Hello,” Alec answered two rings later.
“Hey, it’s me,” Angela didn’t really know what to say. She just wanted to talk with him.
You could cut the sexual tension in the air during spring break with a spoon, and her kind-of boyfriend was at home helping his parents do spring cleaning.
“Hey.” The excitement in his voice made her heart flutter. “So how is your spring break going?”
“Oh, you know. Pretty sure there should be a mandatory teen pregnancy course before you’re allowed to go on spring break.”
He laughed, and her smile broadened.
“So,” she asked blushing slightly. “Do you want to grab dinner sometime after we get back?”
Anika lounged on her chair by the pool. Her olive skin drank in the sun like a solar battery. Her silver bikini was classically scandalous, but it went well with her tattoos. After having to keep the clearly Super marks hidden most of the time there was something incredibly freeing about letting the whole world see them.
The staff around the pool did more than enough staring. One towel boy even walked right into the water. Again, Anika didn’t mind the extra attention. They were all young, attractive, and in incredible physical shape. There was no harm in showing off a little.
“Mmm.” Becca groaned, fidgeting to get into a more comfortable position.
Her speedster girlfriend was cuddled up against her side on the small pool chair. What had started as romantic cuddle by the pool had turned into the blue-haired woman sleeping while Anika watched.
Becca was dressed in a more conservative one-piece, but Anika still found it incredibly sexy. A few thin horizontal straps were the only fabric connecting the back above Becca’s waist. On the front, a diamond shape had been cut out below the speedster’s breasts but above her waist; which highlighted her taught stomach. Occasionally, Anika ran her fingers over this section of flesh to make sure all this was real and she wasn’t dreaming.
Of course, there was the added bonus of Becca liking the attention.
Anika kept her hands to herself for the moment. Becca had been running around all day and she had to be exhausted. On top of that, they didn’t get a lot of sleep last night.
With nothing else to do she turned her attention to the man in the chair next to hers.
“No Liz?” she asked Seth.
The broad-spectrum elemental manipulator shook his head as he took a sip from his pina colada. He might not be twenty-one, but when the hotel staff saw the platinum credit card and a wad of cash for tips they turned a blind eye. Everyone else had to deal with the beer they brought. Thankfully, Coach Meyer and McMillian weren’t being sticklers.
“Nope. This is HCP only.” Seth sounded like he wished his own girlfriend was curled up against him.
“Everyone knows Liz though. She went on that short beach trip last year before parents’ weekend,” she replied.
“I brought that up, but the Coach Meyers still said no. Apparently, there are insurance issues.” Seth’s shrug said he thought the excuse was total bullshit.
“Oh well. Maybe it’s a good thing.” She sighed and lay back in the chair.
“What is that supposed to mean?” Seth bristled.
“Just that it might be good for you two to get some healthy separation once and a while.” She cracked one eye to look at Seth.
“You’re one to be talking.” His eyes roamed over Becca who was basically lying on top of her.
Now it was her turn to bristle. “You know I’m right,” she shot back. “Whenever you two are together you’re joined at the crotch. And don’t try to deny it.” She raised a hand to stop his retort. “The walls are pretty thin in that townhouse.”
“Yeah, they are.” Seth’s eyes bored into hers. “Don’t think the rest of us can’t hear you two.”
Anika blushed momentarily but that was snuffed out by the anger.
“At least I don’t leave Becca for weeks at a time with no explanation and then show up out of the blue like nothing happened.”
It was a low blow, and she knew it the moment it left her mouth.
Seth’s tanned skin flushed with embarrassment and anger. “What is your problem? You’ve never liked her. Is it because you wanted some of this and she got to it first?”
Anika couldn’t help but laugh. “Typical guy thing to say. You’re thinking with your dick instead of your head.” Seth tried to reply but she kept on going. “I don’t like her because she came out of nowhere. She wormed her way into your life, and because we live with you, now she’s in our life. On top of that, she knows all about us. One word from her and we’re all out of the HCP. Did you even think for a second about that? About what it would do to your roommates? About what it would do to Becca?”
The blue-haired speedster stirred as Anika got more animated.
“Her whole town pooled money to send her here. She’s had the courage to come from a small town to the big city, and to try and become the Hero everyone in her town knows she is. Then she discovered herself, she discovered me, and she lost a lot of that backing because she doesn’t like dick like a “normal” girl.” She couldn’t stop a brief sneer from flashing across her face.
“But she’s still brave enough to go forward with her dream of helping people. Even the people who see her as less of a person because she loves me. And you, Seth, have put all of that in danger by bringing Liz into our lives without our consent.”
Seth’s tanned skin was flushed red with emotion by the time Anika finished.
“I’m sorry, but Liz would never do anything to hurt any of us. She’s already proven that to me, and to all of you multiple times.” He shot back.
“Really?” Anika raised an eyebrow in disbelief.
“Yeah,” Seth practically growled trying to keep his voice low to avoid drawing the staff’s attention. “She saved my life when we first met. Some shit-fuck drug dealer tried to put a bullet in me, and Liz risked her life to save mine. She didn’t even know me. You sit there and talk about heroics, but she is a hero whether or not she has the license. And unless you’ve forgotten,” he continued. “she also stood up for you guys after you went costume shopping. I’m pretty sure someone tried to mug you. You would have been forced to jeopardize your secret identities to deal with it, but then Liz stepped in. She made sure that none of you got expelled. And on top of that, she hasn’t done anything to deserve this treatment from you.” Seth took a deep breath to calm himself.
“I’ll admit that we have some relationship stuff to work out. We aren’t Mason and Kyoshi, or even you and Becca, but we love each other; so please respect that.”
Seth’s passion surprised Anika. Until now, she thought he only had passion between his legs. So, begrudgingly, she forced herself to acknowledge some of his points. But that didn’t mean she had to like Liz.
“Fine, I can respect that.” She stated after a pause. “But you need to respect that she holds the future of six good people in her hands.” She saw Seth struggling to figure out who the sixth person was, so she cleared that up. “That includes you.” She smiled at him, and then her face turned serious again. “Make sure she understands all of that the next time you two have a fight or things need to get worked out. Because I am not going to let Becca fail because of someone else’s foolishness.”
Her eyes stabbed into Seth’s, driving home the point.
“Wha…what’s goin’ on?” Becca yawned, finally waking up.
“Nothing.” Anika waited for the yawn to finish before planting a kiss on those lips.
“Yeah.” He nodded to Anika, showing that he understood and accepted her viewpoint. “In fact, I was about to get some more drinks. You want anything?”
“That looks yummy.” Becca pointed at Seth’s nearly empty pina colada. “Can I have one of those?”
“Bartender!” Seth called, causing a man to scramble toward them.
“Yes, Sir. What can I get for you?”
Word of Seth’s generous tipping had obviously spread.
“Can I get three more of these delicious pina coladas. And,” he drew the man in close enough to slip a twenty in his breast-pocket, “make one of those extra strong. The small one might not look it, but she’s got a hollow leg.”
The bartender looked over at Becca, who smiled brightly and waved at him.
“Yes, Sir.” He nodded and ran back to the bar to fill the orders.
Anika watched the man go, and smiled. <Since that’s out of the way we can get down to really enjoying the rest of our break.>
As if to emphasize the point, Becca cuddled closer, which sent her libido into overdrive.
Lilly watched the couple dozen HCP students walking around the hotel grounds. She laughed as Kyoshi face planted, but she made sure to always keep an eye on Seth and her target. Thankfully, both were lounging by the pool and having a very animated discussion.
<Wish I was there.> She told herself for the hundredth time. <Stupid rules. Rules are meant to be broken…Maybe I can sneak in for a quickie.> She smiled at the thought.
Despite it being a great idea, she quickly discarded it. This was a recon mission. She wasn’t to be seen or heard by her target. And if she tried to sneak in and ambush her boyfriend then the budding telepath would know.
<She’s ruining all my fun.> Lilly sighed.
She pulled back from the scope of the rifle. She moved her neck to either side, feeling the cracks of pressure being released from her vertebra. It felt good; especially after peering through the scope for the last few hours.
Lilly was about half a mile away from the resort Seth and the rest of the townhouse’s HCP students were staying at for the week. Life would have been easier if she could have tagged along for the trip, but that would have been too easy. So instead, she was sitting on the top of one of the tallest buildings on the beach and looking down on them.
It had been tough to find them at first. Seth hadn’t been able to give anything but vague details, and the building’s defense themselves were formidable. Formidable, but not unsurmountable. It took some trial and error but Liz was able to overcome the effects of the mirage.
Using technology, Liz was able to penetrate the light-altering properties of the mirage; but not as good as she would have liked. Instead of being able to get a clear picture she got a modified IR version. All she saw was white humanoid shapes moving around the space. It had taken her all of last night, and then several hours this morning to figure out who was who. Thankfully, she’d spent enough time around these people to figure out who was who.
Mason and Kyoshi were easy. They were two of the biggest people there. Seth was easy too, because she’d installed a passive tracking app on his phone. It might be a little stalkerish, but she had a job to do. With that knowledge, she’d been able to discern where Anika was.
<I really wish I had audio.> Lilly complained again, but it was too risky.
All she was planning on doing was staring through the scope of her new electromagnetic rifle for the next few days. <Not exactly the spring break I had in mind.>
On top of being boring, she didn’t like sitting out in the open like this. She’d camouflaged her sniper’s nest, but there was only so much she could do. She had a piece of tech genius smart fabric which adapted itself to its surroundings. She’d used it as overhead cover so anyone flying overhead would only see more rooftop. There wasn’t much of a risk of that. Daytona Beach only had one independent Hero working the streets, but there might be more on call due to the influx of drunk and dumb college students.
She wasn’t in her full Wraith costume either. It was just too damn hot for that. She’d opted for her grinning volto mask, a cyberpunk t-shirt with a shoulder-holstered Glock, and tan combat-pants; although she’d lost the pants in the last hour and was in bikini bottoms now.
<If someone walked up here right now it would be really awkward.> She giggled at the imagery.
Midway through the giggle her phone vibrated. She took her eyes back off the scope and rummaged through her nearby pants. She pulled the phone out on the fourth vibration and pressed it to her ear.
“Yeah.” She held the phone between her head and shoulder so she could return her attention to the scope.
Good thing too. It looked like Seth and Anika were arguing about something. <Bitch.> She automatically thought. <No one talks to my man like that.> It didn’t matter that Lilly had no idea what they were even talking about.
“I need you back here.” Her father’s voice flatly stated over the line.
“Dad, I’m on vacation. Can’t this wait? I’m trying to get my drink on.” She answered in the code they’d developed for this surveillance.
“No, it can’t wait.” He replied. “Family just got in. They haven’t seen you in so long and they wanted to catch up.”
“Oh…ok, sure. I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
The message was clear. Their clients advanced team had reached Orlando and Lilly needed to play tour guide.
<Better put my pants on for this one.> She thought. <These religious zealots tend to shit a chicken if a woman doesn’t have her hair covered. I can’t imagine what they’d do if they saw the hair downstairs.> She mentally chuckled at her unique sense of humor.
Working for these people sent a shiver down her spine and made her gut churn, but a job was a job; and completed jobs got you a reputation.
In her line of work reputation was everything.