A/N: Alex’s powers and new knowledge will make more sense if you go read the first story in this series: “The League of Extraordinary Women”. The disclaimer, spoilers, and other information are in chapter 1.
Danielle Atron stared at her computer screen. She didn’t yell. She didn’t shriek like a banshee. She maintained control. Control was crucial here. She took a deep breath, pressed the correct button on her intercom system, and bellowed, “LARS! CARLTON!”
In no time, Lars came rushing in, followed by her nephew Carlton, who was hiding behind Lars as much as he could. How typical.
She glared at the two of them. “I thought you told me we could crack the Paradise Valley problem.”
Lars winced, but spoke, “Well, Ms. Atron, it seems they have a… ‘superheroine’. She’s stopped all of our ‘enhanced’ clients that we’ve tried there.”
Danielle coldly said, “And how would she stop three shapeshifters? It’s not as if the police there could stop a runaway tricycle. They’re so incompetent, they hired Dave Watt
Lars said, “Well, the enhanced clients were successful in Los Angeles, although they had to ‘retire’ when the mayor called in the National Guard. We don’t know where they are now. And two out of three enhanced client teams we sent to the San Francisco area ended up being shot by SWAT teams when they turned their robberies into hostage crises. We don’t know where the third team is.”
Danielle sneered, “Like we should care where they are.”
Carlton piped up, “Education! We need to educate our clients better, so they know what they can and can’t get away with.”
Danielle scoffed, “Why bother? They pay us first. I don’t care
if they get caught or not. I want to know about Paradise Valley’s superheroine!” She slapped her hands down hard on her desk and glared at her underlings. “Is it Alex Mack? Yes or no!”
Lars said, “Yes!”
Carlton said, “No?”
The two of them stopped and glared at each other.
Why did she have to be surrounded by complete incompetents all the time? She fumed, “Arguments, pro and con?”
Lars said, “We already know she’s the kid who got exposed.”
Carlton stood his ground, “That one time. We don’t know how many other kids got exposed, how many other times. You dumped pollutants for years, and GC-161 experiments were a huge part of that. Anybody could have been contaminated through pollution exposures just from playing in a creek or falling in the mud in the wrong spot. And we know at least three barrels of GC-161 were ruptured the night you two were arrested, so just about anybody could have been exposed at that point, maybe even a police officer or a fireman or one of the FDA security people. Furthermore, we know George Mack spent time designing a GC-161 antidote afterward, because when you first released an enhanced client, he already had antidote prepared and tested, and he gave it to the Paradise Valley police department within hours of our client being captured. Why would he have antidote already? Who would he have tested it on? The answer’s pretty obvious. He already administered it to his daughter as soon as he thought it was safe to use on humans. So Alex Mack is probably powerless now.”
Lars grudgingly admitted, “Well, there is the fact that Paradise Valley’s superheroine also has the ability to fly, according to eyewitnesses. Alex Mack couldn’t do that. She just exhibited side effects that were already known. The silver goo, and the lightning from the fingers, and the telekinesis. We never saw if she could glow or change colors.”
Danielle gritted her teeth. “I hate that kid.” Danielle had spent a huge amount of money – what should have been her money – on ‘plant security personnel’ to hunt the ‘mystery kid’ down, and George Mack’s daughter had been standing there right under Danielle’s nose the entire time. Literally
under her nose on more than one occasion. The plant tour for the junior high children. The plant’s Science Fair where Carlton tried to cheat and blame… who? Alex Mack. The plant’s Father-Daughter Golf Tournament, where George Mack brought his little daughter Alex. The intern science project headed by Annie Mack, which got demonstrated in George Mack’s garage, with little Alex standing right on the other side of the door
. That little bitch had probably been laughing her ass off at so-called genius Danielle Atron the entire time.
Carlton said, “And the plant is still operational, so it’s possible one of the workers has been exposed to some GC-161 that was lying around somewhere unexpected that they missed when they did hazardous waste clean-up. It’s probably a miracle there aren’t about five hundred people in that town with powers. Or maybe the entire south end of town, and everything downstream from there.”
Danielle gritted her teeth some more. It wasn’t fair that she was stuck here, cut off from the money she worked so hard for, for all those years, while the plant and the town were doing better than ever. “I really hate George Mack.”
Lars growled, “And the sister. Annie Mack. And the black kid.”
Danielle said, “Fine. So we can’t be sure the superheroine is Alex Mack. She sure didn’t seem like someone who would play superhero. She hid from the entire town for four years. The most she did was help rescue a kid one time and then run away.”
Carlton took that as an opportunity to say more. “It’s a lot more likely that a police officer or firefighter would use their powers to become a superhero. Maybe we should check and see if any of them had to go into the hospital right after that night.”
She steepled her fingers and thought. “Let’s send our next team of enhanced clients to Paradise Valley. We’ll warn them there’s a possible GC-161 case there who might get in their way, and give them an incentive to get rid of her permanently. Then, if that goes according to plan, we’ll give them an incentive to take care of the entire Mack family, top to bottom.”
“What kind of incentive?” Lars asked.
“We’ll set them up so they can commit bigger robberies in Las Vegas instead. Or we’ll blackmail them with our knowledge that they killed the superheroine in the commission of a felony, which is murder one, a sure death penalty in this state. We’ll come up with something, as long as it doesn’t take any of my
money,” she insisted.
“Naturally,” said Lars snidely.
She said, “And I want samples of that GC-161 antidote. Steal it, analyze it, make some more of it.”
Carlton asked, “Are you planning on removing the powers of our clients? They might pay a lot for that, like that Cready jerk who can’t stop being in shapeshifter mode.”
She shrugged, “Not unless I can make sure it’s worth the cost and effort. No, I have something entirely different in mind.” She didn’t bother to tell them it wouldn’t benefit them