Wind blew out of the tunnel, rattling parts in their boxes and tools hanging the walls. In the middle of it, I could see the hazy shape of the girl. I wondered what effect the sonics would have on her. Would sound do nothing or would it disrupt whatever connected her to herself in that form?

I didn't want to kill her, so I decided not to think about it. She was Daniel's problem.

"She's kind of... dispersed mentally," he said, "but I can do this --"

The hazy form flattened as it hit an invisible wall, face, glasses and the back of her skull interpenetrating each other. She dissolved into a colored gas, reforming a few feet away as cloudy version of herself.

The guy ran out of the tunnel. The shadowy form around him seemed more detailed, all rocks and earth.

Jaclyn and I both went for him, but Jaclyn got there first, giving him a punch in the gut that he barely noticed. He hit her with two of his four hands, grazing her stomach with his own, but pummeling her in the face with the shadowy version of the same hand so quickly I barely saw the punch. She fell, not hitting the floor only because she stepped backwards fast enough that she managed to get her feet under her, ending up behind me.

I considered charging him, but didn't. He struck me as someone who might be strong enough to start ripping my armor off.

I blasted at him with the sonics.

He gritted his teeth as dirt and rocks shot outward from him, becoming solid as they landed on the floor. Looking at him as I tried to figure out my next move, I didn't see any major damage. 

Even as I decided I had to risk hand to hand, Jaclyn came back into the fight. She hit him hard enough with her right hand that he flew backward five feet toward the tunnel, but she kept up with him as he flew backwards, giving him another punch with her left that knocked him back again.

It reminded me of dribbling a soccer ball.

At least it did until he sank into the floor -- which he did shortly after the second punch. 

Jaclyn turned around, calling to me, "Do you see him?"

"Not yet."

He came up again in the middle of the hangar, just behind Night Wolf's car and to the side of the jet. His shadow form no longer looked like dirt and rocks. It looked like concrete and stood maybe a foot taller.

Above us, the girl with air powers was still dodging Daniel's attempts to surround her with an air-tight telekinetic container.

Jaclyn's grandfather shouted out, "Work together!"

Honestly, what did he think we were doing?

Jaclyn blurred and then stood next to me. "I'll run at him and you can come from the side?"

"Sure," I said.

She shot at him, jumped over the car and started pounding on him, dodging his attempts to punch back. Bits of concrete shot into the air from the impact of her blows and he backed up.

I started the rockets, flew in the direction of the jet, banked right, and dove toward the two of them. As I rushed toward him, a thought hit me. He had earth powers. What happened if he was no longer touching the earth?

I grabbed his legs and gained altitude -- well, to the degree I could inside the hangar -- and found myself dragging him through the air. Chunks of concrete crashed to the ground as I pulled myself upright and hovered, holding him upside down. I couldn't see any sign of a shadowy presence. In fact, he wasn't even trying to fight me anymore, he was shouting.

"Ann! I mean Air! Heeeey, Air! Help!" The guy was waving his arms and all but pissing himself.

Near the front of the hangar where she'd been fighting Daniel, Ann/Air turned toward me, drawing herself together and beginning to fly straight at me.

It took Daniel only an instant. She fell unconscious and floated to the ground. As soon as she was on the floor, the guy fell unconscious as well.

I felt like cheering. Even if he wasn't any more powerful than a normal man by then, I had still been worried that with all his moving around, I might drop him.

I flew down to where Daniel stood next to Ann's body. I laid the guy down next to her. Jaclyn had beat me there. 

Of course.

"Did you hear him use her real name? God," she said, "I couldn't believe it. I knew better than that before I was ten."

"That shocked me too," Daniel said. "You never use someone's real name when they're in costume."

"Do you have a name yet?" I asked Jaclyn. "Or are we just supposed to call you Purple or something?"

Her costume was quite purple.

"He," Jaclyn said, pointing to her grandfather, "thinks I ought to call myself 'Little C'. I think that no one ever got his name straight after he changed it to 'C' from Hotfoot."

"It was a great name," her grandfather said. "It was a reference to the speed of light."

"It was a great example," she said, "of why people shouldn't name themselves after a piece of an equation."

The bodies floated up to waist height and Daniel said, "We probably ought to move them into the main room."

As we stepped through the doorway, I realized the phones in the main room were ringing.

"What now?" I said.

"Did you set security to high?" Jaclyn's grandfather asked.

I admitted I had.

"Well, back in my time high security meant that no one who isn't already in the base gets in even if they passed the scan."


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About the author


Bio: Jim Zoetewey grew up in Holland, Michigan, near where L Frank Baum wrote The Wizard of Oz and other books in that series. Admittedly, Baum moved away more than sixty years before Jim was even born, but it's still kind of cool. Jim didn't attain his goal of never leaving school, but did prolong his stay as long as possible. He majored in religion and sociology at Hope College, gaining enough credits to obtain minors in ancient civilizations and creative writing—had he thought to submit applications to the relevant departments. He attended Western Theological Seminary for two years. He followed that up by getting a masters degree in sociology at Western Michigan University. Once out of school, he took up the most logical occupation for someone with his educational background: web developer and technical support. Simultaneously, he finished all but three credits of a masters in Information Systems, a degree that's actually relevant to his field. He's still not done. In the meantime, he's been writing stories about superheroes and posting them online at He's still not sure whether that was a good idea, but continues to do it anyway. He's also not sure why he's writing this in the third person, but he's never seen an author bio written in first person and doesn't want to rock the boat.

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