Two minutes later, Joey was staring at me awestruck.
“So you’re telling me that you became Lightning Bee, not after developing powers normally, but by getting stung by a radioactive bee? And Raina Davenport is Queen, whom you’ve been helping come to terms with all of the terrible things she’s done, which she does feel guilty about?”
“And the two of you are currently part of a team which is being led by Malcolm, whose also a mass murderer. In fact, he’s the terrorist Bang, accept he’s not actually a terrorist, and is, in actuality a globe trotting vigilante?”
“Also, in addition to all the criminals and super villains out there who you guys fight, there’s also a crazy psychopath named Smog whose the serial killer we’ve been after, and you three are the only ones who can stop him?”
“That about sums it up,” I said as he finished recapping what I’d told him.
Joey walked up to me and clasped his hands together.
“You do realize how incredibly asinine this sounds, right?”
“I know it all sounds kind of strange, but…”
“Strange!?”, he interrupted. “Look, I was kind of with you for awhile, but Malcolm is Bang?! You do know he blew up an orphanage, right?”
“It wasn’t an orhpha…” I stopped myself from rambling on Malcolm’s behalf. “Not the point. What I’m trying to say is that despite some of the more shady things Raina and Malcolm have done, we’re heroes and this city needs us.”
Joey took a deep breath and then slowly exhaled.
“Does anyone else know about this? I mean, who you guys are.”
Oh boy, this part wasn’t going to be fun.
“Eve and Olivia know,” I said, purposely dodging the part of the answer to his question that could possibly send him back into rage mode.
“Seriously?! Olivia I kind of get, I mean she does work for Raina, but why does Eve know?”
“Ummmmm,” I held out. Seriously, why did I have to make so many mistakes?
“I was kind of, sort of, hitting on her while in costume, and I ended up telling her who I was.”
“Oh my God,” Joey said, his eyes opening wide as he placed his hands atop his head, now pacing around the roof.
“Cut me slack, dude. I was just starting out.”
“Alright, alright,” he said,still panicking, probably confused as to what to do. “So no one else knows?”
I couldn’t afford to lie to him anymore. Especially since at this point, he was going to find out eventually.
Gritting my teeth, I begrudgingly said, “Shay. Shay knows too.”
Joey dropped his arms and stared at me blankly.
Before he could respond, his radio went off again.
Officer McKnight, we do not have a clear visual up there. What is your status?
Joey took his radio and seemingly turned it off.
“How long?” Joey asked.
“How long, what?” I responded unsure.
“How long has Shay known.”
“Since day one,” I answered.
He started giggling dramatically, his belly fat shaking along with his laughter.
“Joey, are you…”
Before I could ask him if he was okay, he hit me with another right hook, this one straight at my jaw, knocking me down once more.
“Carter, you know now that I’m not just a fat ass. Well, guess what, I’m not stupid either. I know Shay hates me. But she didn’t tell me.”
“Joey,” I said from the floor. “No one but the two of us were supposed to know. But then I started working with Raina, Malcolm tracked me down using my website,…”
“And what? Once half the city knew the truth, you thought you couldn’t trust me? Cause I’m a cop who isn’t perfect Shay?”
“I thought you might tell Troyan.”
“Oh come on Bro!” He grabbed me by the collar and pulled me to my feet. “We’re friends! I wouldn’t sell you out like that.”
“You’re right. I’m sorry. We should have told you.”
“Yeah, you should have. This is real life, not a comic book. There’s point in keeping your secret identity from your friends.”
“Again,” I nodded. “You’re right. Especially considering how, before the whole Queen thing started, you were one of my biggest supporters.”
Joey tilted his head back.
“I’m mad Carter, but if we can find a way to get you out of this, I probably will be again.”
Something had been going on with the police. They’d been ignoring all the crisis going on the city, and according to Shay, they’d been shooting at innocent homeless people.
But Joey wasn’t like them.
I’d made the mistake keeping him in the dark, and now I was going to rectify it.
Putting a hand on his shoulder, I said “Raina, Malcolm, and I are the ones who go out and fight. But Eve, Olivia, and yeah, Shay, we’re all a team.”
“So?” he asked.
“So,” I said, reaching my hand out. “Will you join us Joey? Will you be a hero?”
It took him a few seconds to process what I’d asked.
“I’m still pretty fuming. And I don’t particularly like the team you’ve assembled.”
“I get it.”
He shook his head.
“But writing traffic tickets isn’t what I want to do with my life, and I’m not gonna put away a super hero to get ahead.” Slapping and shaking my hand, he shouted “Hell yeah I’ll join you!”
I gave a big toothy smile at that. It was kind of great that now all of my friends were in the loop about me being a superhero. It was just like I’d always imagined my life as a hero when I was a kid.
The moment of happiness didn’t last long as eight or nine armed police officers busted through the door to the roof, none of them looking particularly glad to see me.
“Freeze!”one of them shouted.
“Lightning Bee put your hands up now!” a different cop screamed.
With his gun still pointed at me, one of the officers slowly walked up to Joey.
“Officer McKnight, we lost contact with your radio. Did he attack you?”
“No, um, you don’t understand, its not what we thought.”
“It’s alright officer,” I said to Joey as I put my hands up, a getaway plan already in my head.
“But Lightning Bee…” Joey started.
“Don’t worry about it.”
I was going to give Joey the benefit of the doubt that he could come up with a satisfactory story for what had happened up here, buying time for all seven of us to come up with a more permanent solution.
That it, assuming I survived my escape plan.
“Lightning Bee, you are under arrest. You have the right to remain…”
“Yeah, sorry, no time for that,” I said. “Gotta go!”
With that I started running towards the edge of the roof.
“Fire at will!” the officer who’d started reading my rights shouted.
“No!” Joey howled.
A few bullets hit me, one in my shoulder, in the stomach, and a few other places as well, but thankfully no one got a head shot.
Being shot multiple times still hurt like a bitch, but after all the times I’d been tossed around and blown up, I wasn’t even screaming from this level of pain.
Falling from the top of a 35 story building though? Still pretty fucking terrifying.
“AHHHHHHHHHH!” I screamed at the top of my lungs as I began my descent.
Falling, I was able to actually see electricity seemingly stitching up my wounds.
Hope this works, I thought.
Using the same tactic I’d used in my fight against Helioray, I fired lightning at the ground to keep myself propelled in the air.
I didn’t want to stay airborne though, so I just used my blasts to slowly lower myself to the ground.
My feet making contact with the ground, I coughed for a few seconds.
It didn’t look like there were any officers still down here, but it was pretty obvious they were gonna come down here as fast as they could. As such, I hastily ran off.
“Good luck Joey,” I said to myself, really hoping he didn’t blow this.
“Ow,” I said, not really meaning it, the way I always did whenever Shay hit me lightly.
“I can’t believe you would do something so stupid! I mean you’ve done some dumb shit before…” she continued but all I could think was that she was just thinking back to the time I’d accidentally burned my school down.
“What was I supposed to do?” I asked after she’d finished ranting. “Telling Joey everything was the only way to avoid getting shot.”
“You could have pulled the same stunt you used to get out of there when the other cops showed up,” she countered. “Cause while I really don’t approve of that, it at least worked.”
“Joey had a clean shot at me, unlike all those other guys. My healing factor may be pretty strong, but we still don’t know if I can survive a bullet to the brain.” Shay still looked pretty pissed. “Look, I know whatever Joey tells Troyan may have consequences on your job, but…” I was cut off by her slapping me.
“Damn it Carter! I don’t care about my job!”
“Wh…what?” I asked, surprised and confused.
“My job isn’t important. In the last year, the only time I’ve gotten to do anything actually heroic was when I helped you out at Andrew Davenport’s party. So I don’t really care if Joey costs me my job, or even just my chances at making detective.” Shay put her hands on my shoulders. “All that matters is that you stay safe.”
She was visibly upset, and given what she was saying, rightfully so, so I decided to try and lighten the mood a bit.”
“I think we’ve have a few conversations like this, don’t you think?” I asked jokingly.
“Yeah, I guess so.” She took her hands off me. “But this time things really will be different.”
“What do you mean? I thought things have changed already.”
“To some degree yes, but…”
“Regardless of what Joey tells us when he gets here, I’m gonna quit the force.”
“What?! Shay you don’t have to do that for me.”
“It’s not just for you,” she said, staring up with her hands behind her head. “I joined the police because I thought it was impossible for a super hero to exist anymore, and even after you became Lightning Bee, I thought it was still the best way I could help people.” He face returned to mine, smiling. “But if Raina of all people can be a super hero, I figure I can too.”
I was really liking the direction this conversation was going, but I needed to make sure she was sure about what I think she was thinking.
“Raina has a power,” I said.
“Yeah, a non combative one. Now she’s a good fighter, but can you honestly tell me she’s better than me?”
“Well, I…” I was cut off this time by Shay hitting me with a jump kick, sending me to the tile floor.
As she assisted me in getting back to my feet, I said, “To be fair, most people could do that to me.” I paused, thinking of another question. “What about money?”
Shay put her hands on her hips.
“Well, I may not exactly like our current living conditions, but it’s not as if we need the income at the moment.”
We smiled eagerly at each other for a few seconds. “So you really want to join us?”
This was going to be so cool. Me, my best friends, and Shay all together as a super hero team. When she answered yes to my question, it was gonna be one of the greatest moments of my life!
“Nah,” she said plainly.
My heart sunk.
“You mean you’re gonna be a solo hero? Why not join us? Is it because we don’t have a name yet, because I am totally working on that!”
“It’s not that. You guys haven’t gotten any action all together as an official team yet, but it’s pretty clear that you three really gel together. Seeing as how Raina and I really don’t get along and I barely know Malcolm, I don’t want to mess that up.”
“But…” For the umpteenth time that day, I was cut off. This time, it was by Joey rushing in through the front door.
“Joey,” Shay said walking up to him. “How’d it go?”
“Hm,” Joey responded, turning his nose up at her.
“Are you still mad at me? I thought we went over why I couldn’t tell you.”
“Yeah, but you never said you were sorry.”
“Oh my God,” she said quickly under her breath. “I’m sorry, okay?”
Joey, clearly still pissed, walked right past her and came over to me.
“Well, I got canned,” he said to me.
“Why?” I asked. “I didn’t think cops could get fired for messing up one job.”
“They can’t, but this isn’t exactly the first time I’ve screwed up.”
“Or the second,” Shay added unnecessarily.
“Basically, Troyan decided that my being the nephew of Darling wasn’t worth keeping me around, especially since being related to a hero isn’t such a big deal now that actual heroes are becoming a thing again.”
“I’m sorry Joey,” I said. “I really am. But hey, Shay’s not gonna work there anymore either!” I said ecstatically.
Shay and I could read each other really well, and I think she could see the opportunity to get back on Joey’s good side I was opening up for her.
“Really?” he asked.
“Yeah,” she said, piecing together what white lie she would tell. “If they’re gonna fire my partner, I’m going with him. Even thinking about becoming a solo hero.”
“Oh that is so cool!” Joey shouted, running back over to her and giving Shay a hug. “I always knew beyond the insults and the negative thoughts that we were friends.” He let go of Shay and said, “I’m gonna go get some drinks to celebrate your becoming the fourth hero of the super hero renaissance!”
With him running off to raid our fridge, Shay and I were left in the living room.
I didn’t like the idea of Shay fighting crime on her own, but Malcolm was powerless too, and he’d managed on his own for over a decade.
“So, what are you gonna call yourself?”