Spark 1.3: Carter

I’d lived in Bluejay City my whole life so I could pretty much navigate the whole place blindfolded. The city was pretty big, and really damn beautiful. There were quite a few parks, gorgeous skyscrapers, and overall, it was a great place to live. The main reason I was proud to live here though was because it was the former home to the greatest superhero team of all time: The Guardianship. King Power, Darling,Magistar; all of those guys were the coolest.

My favorite thing in the city was the statue of King Power outside the station where Shay worked. It was tall, bronze, and the plaque on it had the inscription ““In a world full of Doctors and Captains, there was only one who could be called the King.”

I was filled with joy every time I saw it. Partially because it was awesome, and partially because it reminded me of one of the best days of my life. When I was six, Shay won an essay contest. The prize was that she got to spend a day with King Power, and she was also allowed to bring me. We talked, we got lunch, and we even went to an amusement park. It was absolutely perfect. Well, almost perfect. I kept asking questions that I’d always wanted the answer too, but because Shay was the contest winner, he had to give most of his attention to her.

But I didn’t care. I knew we’d made a connection that day. And I could only hope that if King Power saw me now, he’d be proud of me.

Having made my way across the city, I reached Panda corp.

Panda corp was a massive company. It dealt in a bit of everything. Weapon contracting, electric appliances, oil, etc. I personally don’t think too highly of big corporations, but I had zero doubt in my mind that this place was on the level. I mean, it was founded by Panda himself. Panda wasn’t one of my favorite heroes, but he was still really cool. To my recollection, he was the only member of the Guardianship without powers. And considering my complete lack of hand to hand combat training, it would be pretty cool if I could be trained by someone like him. I had no idea who had taken over the company since all the heroes disappeared, but that’s something I could find out later.

Panda corp’s headquarters was located right here in Bluejay City. I’d been debating whether or not I should come in costume to investigate. It didn’t take me too long to realize that superhero Lightning Bee had a better chance of getting answers than college drop out Carter.

The headquarters was a tall glass skyscraper. It was the second tallest building in the city, only being beaten out by the Grasshopper. I entered the building with a confident stride. “Hey there. I’m Lightning Bee. You think I could speak to the CEO?”

“Do you have an appointment?”, a young, pretty hot secretary with short blonde hair asked me.

“No, but I really need to see him.” I smiled just like I’d always seen heroes do during parades.

“Sorry. Mr. Davenport is very busy, and doesn’t have time to see a high schooler celebrating Halloween two months early.”

Huh. I guess I’d have to be at this for more than a month before I was as universally respected as the King. “I’ll have you know that I’m 21. Ergo, not a high schooler.”

“Fascinating. Now, do you have another reason to be here, or do I need to call security?” She had a stern look on her face, and was getting in my way, but even so I couldn’t help but find her attractive.

“Look, I’m here investigating the recent murders which have taken place. Both of the women that were killed worked here. Now I’ve brought in seven bad guys, so I think your boss will be happy to see me.” I was leaning over her desk now and she smiled back at me.

“So, if I assume that you’re actually a hero, tell me something.”

“What?”

“Do you actually think that the CEO of a multi billion dollar company would have anything to say about a random two of 500,000 employees?

“Uhhhhhhh.” I wasn’t quite sure how to respond to that. I also noticed that I was getting odd glances from other people in the building. Geez. It was like these people had never seen a superhero before.

“I’m sorry. Didn’t quite catch that.” I noticed that considering this conversation came down to two people being dead, she was being rather cold. I recomposed myself in the next few moments.

“Don’t you even care that two people were murdered? This isn’t something that happens often you know.”

“I’m from New York. I’m used to it. Now, why don’t you get back to living in your bubble and help a cat get down from a tree. I have work to do.” She turned from me to her computer.

Okay, so maybe she was right about talking to the CEO being the wrong approach. Even so…”Hey. What’s your name?” She remained staring at her computer, typing, as she gave her response.

“If I tell you will you go away?”

“Sure.” I totally wasn’t going to.

“I’m Eve. Leave. Now.” She used the slightest bit of baby voice on the last word.

“Eve. Do you think you could tell me where their offices were? Their names were Diane Denson and June Rockaway.”

“I thought you said you would leave.”

“I was lying.” She sighed and turned to me.

“Give me a sec.” She turned right back to her computer and began searching for info about the murdered women.

“So you are going to help me? That’s awesome!” I held up my hand for a high five.

“You really do live in your own little world don’t you?” She remained focused on her task. I put down my hand. What was wrong with this girl?

“Come on. Do you just have something against heroes? There had to be some cool heroes in New York.” I thought I’d heard of some of them: Countdown, Magenta, Razmatazz, though he could have been based in Boston; I’m not sure.

“Oh we had heroes alright. Not that I’d ever call them that. We had one guy who was drunk 90% of the time, a woman who spent more time sleeping with her team than fighting villains, and a whole separate team who started working for a villain a week after their debut.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I’d never heard of heroes acting anything like this. “One last question: How do you know any of that is true? Sounds like dirty rumors to me.”

“The drunkard was my dad. He gave me the inside scoop. Yes, while he was sober.” I was becoming even more interested in this girl. And she was so cute.

“I’m sorry about your dad. My dad wasn’t the best either. Well, I guess he was okay, just not to me.” I heard a beep come from her computer.

“Both of their cubicles were on the fourth floor. Take this badge and this paper.” She handed me a security badge and a paper with the locations of the cubicles. I still had one more question though: If she had a problem with heroes, why would she come to the super hero capital of the world?

“Thanks. But hey, one more thing-”

“Sorry, you said last question. Have a nice day.”

Okay, time to do something really stupid. I bent down on her desk again and began whispering. “So listen, my real name is Carter Myers, I’m a P.I., do you want to grab some coffee with me when I’m done here, or, whenever you’re free?”

“I’m never gonna get back to work, am I? Okay, so first, you must suck at the hero thing cause you just told me your secret identity. Two, do you really think any girl is ever going to say yes to going out with you while you’re wearing tights?”

Great, now it wasn’t just the criminals who were dissing my costume. I’m sure people would find it cooler if I had abs to show through the suit. Muscles aren’t everything, people! “So what if I were to come back tomorrow out of costume and ask you out? We could talk shit about our dads, you could explain to me why what I’m doing is dumb.”

“I never said it was dumb. Now head upstairs before I change my mind and get security.”

“I didn’t hear a no!” I started running for the elevator.

“Oh yeah, you know the police were already here, right?”

“I know!” I shouted across the lobby.

*

I started making a mental checklist of things I should be looking for. First off, I needed to find anything that they may have had in common. Maybe if they had some trinkets that showed they had similar interests, that would be a good place to begin. Also, I should see if either of them had anything that suggested they were involved in any form of crime. For the last couple of years, crime had been increasing in Bluejay. But hey, that’s why I’m doing what I’m doing. I would also want to take pictures of every part of their cubicle so I could go back to them later and look at them for things I may have missed. The only other thing I could think to do was ask around about them. I’m sure these people wouldn’t mind.

The elevator stopped on the fourth floor. I hoped I could find out what music had been playing in the elevator, because it sure as Hell wasn’t standard elevator music, and it was really catchy. I took a good look at the floor, and my god was this place boring. I couldn’t imagine how dull it would be working in this kind of place. Though I think any traditional day job would be boring to some degree. At least Shay’s job allowed for the chance of excitement. And I guess since these people were squared away in their cubicles, they weren’t allowed to dress as freely as Eve. She wore a preppy looking teal shirt and white skirt while these people were all wearing suits of the black and gray variety.

I walked over to Diane’s old cubicle, getting even more odd looks along the way. “Nothing to see here folks. Just a super hero at work.” I found the cubicle and was pissed off by what I found. “Nothing! There’s nothing here!” Of course, the police probably took all of her stuff here as evidence. I went over to June’s cubicle and found the same amount of nothing. Well there went my plan. I guess that left me with only one option. “Everybody! I’d like to ask for a minute of your time.”

Um, who are you?” I heard a random suit ask.

Seriously,” I mumbled. “Does no one in this freaking city watch the news?!” Maybe getting angry wasn’t the right way to start things off, but I was pretty pissed. Seven baddies I’d beaten, and I’d even gotten a thumbs up from the mayor, and still no one knew who I was. Come on. “Alright. Sorry for that little outburst everyone.” Everyone was now clearly kind of scared of me. For their sakes, they should just be glad they weren’t scaring me.

I walked over to a random Asian guy. “Hey there. What’s your name?”

Kegan.” I could see he was kind of scared of me. I get he was scared from my screaming but my costume didn’t scream threatening.

Well Kegan, I’m here investigating the deaths of two of your colleagues.”

Yeah, Diane and June. I heard about what happened.” Oh, that he’d heard about. Did I just think that? Wow, my mind can be kind of a douche bag.

Were you friends with either of them?”

June and I were pretty close. Not so much with Diane.” OK, I could work with that.

Do you have any idea why anyone would want to hurt her?” As sick as this sounds, I was really hoping the answer to my question would be yes. At least then I’d be one step closer to finding the monster behind this.

No, I have no idea.” Dang it. “She was sweet to everyone. She was always upbeat. She probably was a fan of yours. Her cubicle was filled with all sorts of super hero memorabilia. She had photos, a King Power mug, and she even kept around this old Bladeburst swimsuit calendar.”

I see.” And here I thought I was the only one with that swim suit calendar. OK, time to move on. “Alright!” I shouted without sounding angry this time. Was anyone here friends with Diane?” I looked around and waited for a few moments. “Really, no one?”

Um.” A middle aged Caucasian woman spoke up. “Diane mostly kept to herself. A few of us tried to be friends with her, but all she ever wanted to do during breaks was talk to her Darling bobble head. Frankly I don’t think she was too well in the head.”

Hm. So these women had very different personalities, one being extroverted, the other introverted, but both had a connection to the old heroes. Was this guy targeting women who loved those guys? Was Shay in danger? I noticed a thin layer of electricity was starting to form around my body. Deep breaths I told myself. Stay calm. My eyes closed, I cooled down and the electricity went away. “Everything is okay.” I whispered.

There he is!” An older man shouted from his cubicle. I opened my eyes and saw two burly security guards heading my way. I guess this guy had gotten so scared he’d called them.

Were you harassing these people?” One of the security guards asked me.

No, of course not. I’m Lightning Bee, superhero.” I was giving the same smile I’d given Eve earlier. The guards gave each other a quick glance.

Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to come with us.” Both of them were completely expressionless.

Come on guys, I think this is just a big misunderstanding.” In response to my saying that, they each grabbed one of my arms. I wasn’t strong enough to pull away, and while I could have shocked them, that would only harm the reputation I was trying to build. In the long run, it was better to just get thrown out on my ass. Hopefully, only metaphorically.

They ended up taking me down the stairs, which was even more upsetting to me because I really wanted to hear that elevator music again. When we got to the lobby, they were basically dragging me. I saw Eve as I was being taken away and she waved goodbye to me. I mouthed “call me” as they were bringing me out the front door and I saw her smiling as I did.

And then…they actually threw me out on my ass. I was unaware anyone actually did that. I stood up before too many people could see me and I brushed myself off. “Okay, where do I go from here?” As I asked myself that, I felt a vibration from my pocket. I pulled out my phone. It was Shay. “Hey sis. What’s up?”

Hey Carter. You wanna come grab some lunch?”

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