Scimitar walked the length of the plain white hall. He stopped in front of the door marked LAB 18. His eyes rolled to the small black panel next to the door knob. The narrow beam extended from his hand and with a flick of his wrist the panel fell to the floor. Sparks spat from the hole and a wisp of smoke floated towards the roof.
Scimitar deactivated his power, then pushed the door open. Inside, he saw three stainless-steel tables holding different devices and other equipment. At each table, two people looked up from what they were doing. They straightened from their stools and moved to the opposite end of the tables. “Good. You’re all well educated.” A greasy smile spread over the stubble-faced Scimitar. “I was afraid I was gonna have to educate you.”
A man with a wreath of silver hair inched a step forward. “P-p-please, just d-d-don’t hurt anyone. T-t-take whatever you w-w-want.” His meaty hands waved to the tables. “M-m-most of it is b-b-beyond our underst-st-standing anyway.”
With languid steps, Scimitar walked to the third table, furthest away from the group. He touched a large cylinder object with four odd shapes embossed on it. “This is all I need.” The group of lab technicians huddled closer together and sighed. In a fluid motion, Scimitar scooped up the item, waved to the scientists, and walked out the way he came.
In his truck, he touched his ear. “I have the device. How do I operate it?”
Prophet’s voice came into his ear. “Good. You have to configure it by turning the four dials.”
“You mean the things poking out of the sides?” Scimitar moved the device until all four of the dials were facing him.
“Precisely,” Prophet said. “First, the device has to be calibrated to the wielder. That is gonna require a fluid transfer.”
“A fluid transfer?” Scimitar’s eyes scrunched as he set the device on his lap. “So I just spit on it?”
“Not quite that simple,” Prophet answered. “But you have the right idea. It will require your blood. A small gash will do. Touch each dial and when they turn green, it is synced to you.”
“Sounds easy enough.” Scimitar extended his power from one hand and ran the edge over his other palm. He sucked air in through his teeth, making a hissing noise. The smell of burning meat filled the cabin of his truck. A tendril of smoke curled up from the self-inflicted wound and rolled up into Scimitar’s nose, making it wrinkle. “Damn!” Without clenching his fist, he ran the dripping hand over the dials of the device on his lap. Once his blood smeared the last icon, he gripped his fingers closed and reached for a wad of napkins on the seat next to him.
The first dial changed colors from orange, blue, pink, red, a deep purple, then held at day-glow green. The second dial changed in color as well, holding them longer than the first. Like the first one, it too stopped on the day-glow color. The third cycled through colors so fast that Scimitar had to turn his head away. When it stopped, it showed the same green as the first two.
The fourth dial was a deep black. It seemed to be a combination of thick motor oil and midnight.
Scimitar stared at it. His breath rasped in and out of his nose as his eyes widened. Without seeing it, the color of the fourth dial changed to the green of its companions, startling Scimitar. “Done.”
“That is very good news,” Prophet said. “Very good news, indeed.”
“You have thwarted two of the bank robberies,” SYMON said to Vivian. “The local police have managed to quell three of the other bank robberies and Cobalt has four down. That leaves seven. Police are still dealing with three more, and Cobalt just engaged her fifth. Might I recommend you deal with the next one faster.”
“I would love too,” Vivian said as she launched into the air. “They are all using the same tactic and so it should be easier.”
SYMON chirped and turned a bright purple. “You were paying attention. Good. Now, just go.”
“Stupid computer,” Vivian muttered shaking her head.
She doubled her speed and zoomed to her next destination. The four men inside were leaving the bank as a lone police car pulled up. Vivian set down between the robbers and the police. “Give up. Your love is not strong enough.” She rolled her eyes as she said this.
“You will see how strong my love is,” one of the dark clad figures screamed and charged Vivian. He put his head down as he approached and extended his arms.
Stepping forward, Vivian reached for an outstretched arm and grabbed it. Twisting her body as she moved, she tossed her combatant at the remaining three robbers. The flailing body collided with two others and all three went to the ground. The fourth member pulled a handgun and leveled it at Vivian. His finger flexed over the trigger.
Two rapid shots barked behind Vivian and the last robber dropped. The two police officers advanced next to the female hero. One continued on pulling out handcuffs. “You’re Amethystia, aren’t you?”
“Yes officer, I am.” Vivian turned to face the middle-aged man. “Glad to be of service.”
“I’m glad you both are here,” the cop said. “Between you and Cobalt, we are taking the robbers out quick.”
“It’s a team effort,” Vivian said with a flat smile. “Speaking of Cobalt, do you know where she is?”
“Yeah,” the cop said. “Dispatch said she just left her last location. She flew off towards the Fourth and Spruce location.”
“Thank you, officer.” Vivian reached a hand to the officer.
The officer shook her hand. “By the way, don’t you find it odd that all these guys are robbing different banks at the same time?”
Vivian paused with her knees flexed. “Now that you mention it, yes. It is odd.” Holding her position, her eyes moved as her brain processed the information.
“Distraction,” SYMON said in a quiet tone.
“For what?” Vivian jerked her arm to a stop, keeping it near her side.
“What?” The police officer looked at Vivian. “Did you say something?” He grabbed a cuffed robber and held him in place.
“Oh,” Vivian said. “No. Just thinking out loud.” She waved then finished her jump into the air and sped off towards Fourth and Spruce.
“Why would anyone need a distraction of this size?” Vivian held her wrist near her face. “I don’t get it.”
“That is the point of distractions,” SYMON said. “All questions will be answered if we answer the root question.”
“What?” Vivian zigged a quick left and aimed for the ground.
“Who is causing the distraction?”
Kelly descended towards the next location. As she touched down, she saw a figure land on the sidewalk close to the bank branch. The uniform was unmistakeable. “Amethystia.”
At that moment the front door of the building burst open and four black-clad men bolted from the shade covered walkway.
“Freeze ‘em,” Kelly shouted.
“No liquid to freeze,” Vivian shouted back.
“Well, so much for that,” Kelly muttered as she spread her arms. Tilting her torso forward, her feet left the ground and she darted at the clump of men.
“Ohhh…Good idea,” Vivian said imitating the senior hero.
Both heroes scooped up two men each and pushed them towards a nearby chain link fence. Kelly grabbed a support pole and wrapped it around two of the men. Vivian, once again, copied her idol and interlaced the pole with the first one.
When it was evident that the prisoners weren’t going anywhere, Vivian turned to Kelly. “Cobalt, you do realize this was a distraction, right?”
“Hmmm…” Kelly cocked put both her hands on her hips and looked at the gray pavement. “Who would put on a distraction this large?” Kelly’s masked face lined up with the other hero.
“I don’t know,” Vivian answered.
“Neither do I,” Kelly said. “So since I don’t have an idea of what to do next, I am just going to take out the bank robbers.” She squat down and put a fist over her head.
“Wait,” Vivian said. “You don’t think it’s odd that every robber is male and goes on about the power of his love?”
Kelly stood and sighed. “You have a point there.” Kelly tapped her chin with a finger. “And robbing anything more than two banks at the same time would be a distraction.”
“Especially since there are two superheroes in town,” Vivian added, showing a wide, toothy smile. “It doesn’t make sense.”
“Yeah,” Kelly said rolling her eyes and shifting her feet. “I guess so.”
“Oh, come on.” Vivian looked at Kelly. “Surely you have a string of super villains that might want to come after you for something.”
Kelly looked up for a beat, then shifted her head. “Nope. They are all in The Tank or Karl Pence.”
Vivian’s mouth opened as her eyes widened. “All of them?”
“Yup.” Kelly nodded as she spoke. “I make sure the bad guys go away and don’t come back.”
“What about Bartholomew Harris?” The synthetic voice said.
“Who said that?” Kelly looked around and stepped closer to Vivian. “How do you know about Bartty Harris?”
“I d-d-don’t,” Vivian said looking at her bracelet. “SYMON said it. He knows.”
“What?” Kelly followed her eyes and spotted the pulsating band around Vivian’s wrist.
“I am SYMON,” SYMON said. “Not a he.”
“Now is not the time for hair-splitting,” Vivian said. “Tell us what you know.”
“What is that thing?” Kelly grabbed Vivian’s arm. Her grip clamped down like a vise, forcing Vivian’s fingers to curl.
“It’s my digital assistant,” Vivian stammered. “That is the closest thing I can relate it to.”
“Is this the source of your powers?” Kelly shook Vivian’s arm. “You’re don’t really have super powers, do you?”
“I do,” Vivian said. “Technically. Or at least comparatively.”
“Explain,” Kelly spat.
“I’m from the future,” Vivian said. She sucked in air through her teeth and put a finger under Kelly’s hand. Lifting one finger from her arm put a heavy strain on her strength. “You’re stronger than initially reported.”
“I told you,” Vivian said. “I’m from the future. I know all about you. Your life has been turned into holo-dramas spanning two-hundred episodes. You inspire others to take up the mantle and make the World a safe place.” Vivian grunted as she exerted more pressure on the fingers around her arm. “My hand is turning blue.”
Kelly jerked her eyes to Vivian’s arm. Seeing the loss of circulation spreading to the wrist, she slacked her fingers. “What are you talking about?”
“I don’t know how to explain it better,” Vivian said as she flexed her fingers. “I’m from the future, and you are from my past. I traveled here to meet you.”
“Amethystia, that is not the entire truth,” SYMON said.