Willow had barely gotten her boots on, clunky purple things that they were, when the phone blared its purposely obnoxious ringtone through her apartment. This wasn’t anything like the pleasant sounds her civilian cell phone made, a series of beats that were designed to gently call for attention without disturbing those around. No, this was a tone that blared like the horn of an eighteen wheeler making love to thunderclap. It was created to be impossible to miss or ignore, an absolute necessity given the phone’s purpose, but Willow still winced every time she heard it. Partly was because of the noise itself; though in truth the wincing was also because of what these calls represented.
Nobody called superheroes on their emergency lines with good news. Not ever.
She hurried through the apartment, thick boots that kept her feet safe also raising a racket that left those downstairs dramatically overestimating the size of their overhead neighbor. Her purple cape flapped as she dashed, settling down only when she reached the phone and flipped it open. Willow raised it to her face, just next to the purple domino mask that concealed her identity.
“Willow, we’ve got a problem. He got loose.” The deep male voice on the other end at least had the courtesy to sound apologetic.
Only willpower kept her from cursing into the receiver. She made it a rule not to curse when she was in the costume; too many impressionable children looked up to superheroes for her to set that sort of example. Nonetheless, there was a tirade of obscenities bounding through her head as she composed herself and continued the conversation.
“Cute pronoun games aside, we’re talking Doctor Omniverse, right? The guy you all promised me was going to be buried so deep there was no way he’d every break out, again.”
There was some uncomfortable throat clearing on the other end of the line. That was good; the last thing Willow wanted was for someone giving her this news to not be afraid. She knew better than anyone what Doc Omni was capable of, and if these people had a brain in their heads they were already scrambling.
“We thought we had, but someone he managed to-”
“Figure out what went wrong on your end later. Right now I’ve got to get on his trail. Do you know anything about the abilities he had on the way out?”
“Last known was super strength and near-invulnerability, but it’s been six hours since then so we can’t be sure.”
Willow’s grip tightened on the phone so hard that if she’d taken any powers that morning it would have been nothing more than cheap plastic shards in her hand. “Six hours! Why am I just getting this call now?”
“There were protocols we enacted that we believed could contain him.”
“For the love of- He could be literally anywhere by now, do you realize that? If he decides to hole up and stay low it could be years before I find him, years he’ll have to set who knows what kind of terrible plans in motion. The escape was one thing, Randy, but now I feel like you’re helping him on purpose.”
“Willow, our programs weren’t a total failure. One of our tech guys created some sort of wormhole multiverse voodoo machine that I don’t understand, but it can track him. We can pin down what world he’s in at any given time.”
That brought Willow’s impending verbal tirade up short. Doctor Omniverse had powers like hers, identical to hers in fact, which allowed him to temporarily mimic the powers of fictional characters, as well as travel into the pocket universes their worlds occupied. Tracking him down meant darting through countless universes, trying to sense the subtle trail of discontinuity he left in his wake. If Randy’s team really had found a way to pin him down to a single world, it would make bringing that jerk back a hell of a lot easier.
“Where is he now?”
“Been bounding through a lot of classics, we think he made it to a library, but he’s finally slowing down. We’ve got a tech en route to your place right now with some experimental communications equipment. It should be able to let us talk to you even across the dimensional barriers.”
“’Should’ sounds a lot like ‘if’ to me, and I don’t know that this is an ‘if’ kind of situation.”
“It was made by the same kid who created the tracking machine, so that should at least earn benefit of the doubt.”
“Maybe, if I’d actually seen proof that this tracking gizmo worked.” Willow forced herself to take a deep breath and calm down. Doc Omni was out and on the loose, no amount of righteous snippiness would change that. She needed to focus on getting him back in jail, which Randy’s equipment might be able to make a lot more manageable. “Fine, send your boy over and have him leave the package in the usual spot. How long until the drop?”
“Six minutes, at most,” Randy assured her. There was a slight tremor of relief in his husky voice.
“Great. And Randy?”
“When I’m done, we’re going to have a long, long, long, discussion about your continual failures to keep him contained. Clear?”
“Clear.” The relief was gone now, replaced with a wholly fresh wave of fear.
Willow snapped the phone shut and set it on the counter. Six minutes wasn’t long, but it would give her enough time to add the most important part of her superhero ensemble: her power. She walked over to the large bookshelf that occupied an entire wall of her modest apartment. On it were volumes of literature spanning different genres and cultures from across the world. The middle shelves, however, held her favorite pieces: stories of fellow superheroes out righting wrongs in their own worlds.
She scanned them carefully, contemplating what sort of power set she should use to go after Doc Omni. He may have broken out with brute strength, but six hours was more than enough to change that. The one drawback of their talent was that the more powerful abilities they took, the shorter the mimic lasted. It meant she would need something practical and general-use for the moment, a suite of abilities that would allow her to react to anything Doc Omni might try to throw at her.
Her fingers danced along the books’ spines as she narrowed down her options. Time to choose some powers and get on the trail.
What powers does Willow choose?:
A) Telekinesis: Next Chapter written by R.J. Ross of Cape High
B) Super-Strength: Next Chapter written by Jeffery Allen of Portal
C) Super-Speed: Next Chapter written by Cheyanne Young of Powered
Update: Votes have closed and Telekinesis is officially the winner!
Tune into PenandCapeSociety.com Monday to see the adventure continue.
Then tune into PenandCapeSociety.com Monday to see the adventure continue.