Speed Skater put up a hand to ward off the sexist pigs who assumed a lady helpless without functional skates. “Guys, I appreciate the protection, but it is totally not necessary.”
Commander Justice folded his arms. “I will determine what is necessary when Commander Justice is in command. We’re not letting you or Slugger out of our sight.”
And Speed Skater will consider Commander Justice full of himself when he speaks of himself in third person. “Why isn’t Payday here? I have as many super powers as he does.”
“He has ammo and survival skills you wouldn’t believe. I wouldn’t bet on Mystic being able to survive a confrontation with Payday. Even if he did, Payday’s probably the most expendable member of the team. I’m going to make sure you come home safely, little lady.”
Slugger, the Japanese batting star, fell to the ground. Elephant Woman ran over to him.
Commander Justice collapsed in a heap. Speed Skater stared at his back: A dart.
Elephant Woman charged forward, slowed, and then stopped and fell to the ground, two darts protruding from her neck, the only exposed spot in her Elephant exo-suit. Speed Skater knelt beside Commander Justice. Still breathing.
She began to run.
“Hold on, I just want to talk!” cried a gruff voice behind her.
She turned. “You?”
Payday towered over Elephant Woman. “I had a proposition, but I don’t think they would care for it. It occurs to me that sitting around like sitting ducks while Mystic plucks us off one by one is insane.”
“Okay, so far.”
“It’s time we go hunting. We need to draw out Mystic.”
“And you think I’m pretty good bait.”
Payday raised his hands. “Don’t take it as an insult.” He pointed to Slugger. “I could have taken bat-boy, but you got what he doesn’t: Speed, Agility, and cunning. You’ve got skills, and I recognize that.”
Somebody actually thought she was more than a precious flower to be guarded. Even if it was Payday, she’d take it. “But wait, what about the Sword?”
“Miller’s gone to hunt Mystic. Revelator and Pantheon decided to tag along when he came back to get dynamite. But my bet is Mystic will double back and attempt to knock another one of us off.”
“Guess my alternative is waiting for my babysitters to wake up.” Speed Skater paused. “They will wake up?”
“Oh, ol’ Commander and bat-boy will be up in half an hour. Elephant Woman might be out longer. I had to use two darts on her to be safe. She’ll be up within an hour.”
“I guess I’ll be the bait.”
“That’s the spirit. Don’t worry, I haven’t lost a worm yet.”
She sent him a puzzled look.
Payday ignored it. “Get about a quarter of a mile ahead of me and move at a steady pace. Should you encounter Mystic, I’ll be there in two minutes. You have to keep him occupied that long.”
“You know, this place makes me feel weird. I feel like I’m being watched.”
“Me too, all the time. But it’s nothin’ to do with here.” Payday shook his head. “Get goin’, I’ll give you an eight minute head start. Walk briskly, don’t run.”
She nodded began to walk away.
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