In New York, a nightclub named Tartarus was closed during the day unlike at night when a certain influential young crowd frequent there. Even though the club was closed, four cars were parked in the back with two men in suits standing by each car. Outside of the one each seemed to be paired with, they did not speak to the others.

Inside Tartarus, three men sat around a table in the middle of the backroom while a fourth stood at the far end. All four dressed in Italian suits. The one standing said, “You all know why you’re here. We need to do something about Gilbert.”

The one sitting on the other end replied, “Look, he’s making a play for your territory. Not mine.”

“What do you think he’ll do after that? He’ll go after you next.”

The one sitting on the side closest to the door added, “Vincent’s right. Gilbert needs to be taken out while we can do something. We need to show everyone we don’t appreciate a punk from out of town disrupting… well… you know… our balance of power.”

On the roof of Tartarus, Duncan slowly lowered himself using his ability to control gravity. He walked over to the edge and looked down on the four cars and eight men standing by them. Duncan smiled wickedly. “This will be way too easy,” Duncan thought.

Kurt watched as Travis packed a small bag with a few articles of clothing. He did not want to say anything to Travis who came across as quite a dark individual. When he noticed Travis zipping up the bag, Kurt could not help himself from speaking. “You know, you might need to pack a bit more than that.”

Travis glared at him for a moment without any expression on his face. He said as he threw the bag effortlessly over his shoulder, “I don’t plan to be gone long.”

“Don’t you realize this will be a new job for you?”

He frowned which did not make Kurt too comfortable. “Look, Wade, I’m going with you to Washington pretty much for a forced vacation by my captain. You’re lucky that I’m actually listening to what you’re offering. However, I never agreed to be part of StormStrike yet.”

Kurt had a hard time trying to think how to respond to that. Finally, he forced out the only thing that seemed possible to lighten the situation. “You can call me Kurt by the way. All my friends do.” Kurt was hoping that would make the detective feel better about him.

However, Travis just replied, “Who said I was your friend, Wade? Just give me some more details on what you hope to accomplish.”

Kurt shook his head and that caused him to notice on the table a picture. He reached for it and looked at it closely. “Damn. Your family seems so happy in this picture.” He looked back at Travis. “Your parents believed in using their powers for good but I think we made a mistake back then. A terrible mistake.”

Travis asked, “How so?”

“Your father and mother were good soldiers in the war but maybe the decision makers who wanted it to be kept secret made the wrong decision. The world was different then though. A lot more innocent. Now, since the coming and going of the Metahunters, we live in a completely different world. A much harsher world.”

Travis thought a moment then replied, “You know, while we’re flying to Washington, I want you to explain something to me. How could a government that had ShadowStrike bring in the Metahunters? And then explain why I should feel comfortable working for that government.”

“Sure.” Kurt slowly put the picture back where he got it. He looked at it and it made him remember. “I guess you deserve to know for more than one reason.”

Jai walked through New York. She was dressed completely in black and did that a lot since Bobby’s death. She wore dark sunglasses but one could still tell she did not wear any makeup. And she really did not feel there was anyone she needed to wear any for. When she walked by an alley, she stopped and looked down the alley because she thought she saw something.

A large male held a girl who could not have been older than sixteen against the side of the building. The male was trying to force himself on the young girl and her struggling showed it was unwanted.

Jai calmly walked into the alley and said, “Am I interrupting something?”

The male turned to Jai. “I think you need to mind your own business, bitch!”

Jai smirked. It was the closest thing to a laugh she has done in a very long time. “And that comes from a guy who has to get his jollies from little girls. Why don’t you try a real woman for once?”

When the guy rushed her, Jai allowed him to get close enough to her before delivering a kick to his groin. When he doubled over, she kneed him in the face which caused him to drop to the ground. Jai said, “You’re just lucky that I have more pressing business to attend or I’d really hurt you, jackass!”

As Jai turned to the girl, she said with a happy expression across her face, “Thanks for helping me.”

A part of Jai wondered why a girl so young was caught in the situation but a larger part of her just did not want to know. “You need to not hang out in alleys at your age. Now, go home.”

The girl’s eyes grew wide. “Look out!”

As Jai turned back, she noticed the guy was back up and holding a gun towards her. Jai quickly raised her hand and let out a blast of fire at the gun which caused it to grow hot in his hand until he was forced to drop it. While he fled, Jai just stared at him with utter contempt.

When Jai turned back to the girl, the girl just stared at her. “You’re a metahuman. But you helped me.”

Jai replied, “Didn’t I tell you to go home?” Jai turned and left the alley the way she came. She noticed a small coffee shop across the street and it dawned on her she forgot to have breakfast so made her way over.

When she opened the door, Jai almost allowed a smile to cross her lips. She thought how this place reminded her of the place she met Bobby for the first time. She had just stopped in for a quick cappuccino. She had made her way to the counter and sat down next to Bobby. He asked her to pass him a napkin of all things. When she did, their eyes met and the rest was history.

Jai snapped herself out of thinking about a happier past. Being happy was something of the past to Jai Cabarini and she forced it to stay that way.

Jai took a deep breath to take in the aroma of the coffee shop. It was different in California but she really did not plan to stay in New York so just shrugged it off. She walked over to the counter and sat down. When the waitress walked over, Jai asked, “Do you have cappuccino?” After only getting a laugh as a reply, Jai continued, “Forget it. Just give me a cup of coffee.”

Jai watched the waitress pour the coffee. When the cup was full, Jai took a sip from it then made a sour face. She asked the waitress, “You call this coffee?” Jai glared at her as the waitress just went on to the next customer who seemed like a large fellow who must work at the sanitation department. She just thought how she really needed to get Duncan and get out of New York as soon as possible. This city was unlike the type of cities she has been around on the west coast.

Jai noticed two policemen entering the shop and sat down in a booth close to where she sat. Normally, she would not try to listen in on others but they were talking loud enough for her to hear. Besides, the fact Bobby was a police officer made Jai think about things.

One policeman said to the other, “I tell you that was not normal what I saw at Tartarus. Four heads of different mafia families that do not get along being found dead is one thing. However, they seemed to be flattened like a steamroller ran over them but no way one could have entered the room. Not to mention the scene in the back looked like it was a bloodbath. Whatever took them out was not a very caring. Body parts of the bodyguards could be found up to three blocks away.”

“You think it has to do with the rumors that there’s a power play happening in the underworld?”

“Yeah. For those four to get together, there must be something big happening. I hear that there’s this guy named Gilbert from Chicago attempting to take over the organized crime in New York. I just wonder how he could have pulled it off.”

Jai thought how it must have been the Duncan’s work and that meant she was getting closer. She quickly pulled out a five out of her pocket and put it down on the counter. Jai hurriedly made her way outside.

At a tower in New York, Duncan sat calmly on a sofa in one of the penthouse suites. He was joined by a short fellow who walked in and made his way to the desk. Duncan said, “I thought you had a harder job for me, Mister Gilbert.”

He nodded and smiled. “It would have been harder for someone else. I have to admit that I like the way you clean house.” Gilbert opened a cigar box and offered one to Duncan.

Duncan said, “Sorry. I don’t smoke.”

Gilbert shrugged and put the box down. “Well, you did your job so now it’s time for me to live up to my end.” He turned to push a painting aside to expose a safe. Gilbert put his hand up to the panel to allow it to scan his fingerprints. After scanning, the safe opened. He withdrew some money and closed the safe. Gilbert put the money down on the desk. He took a cigar out of the cigar box, clipped it, put it in his mouth and withdrew a gold lighter. After he lit up a cigar, he continued, “One hundred thousand as we discussed.” As Duncan began to place the money in a satchel, Gilbert said, “Having someone like you with me would make me untouchable in this town. I want to offer you a permanent position in my organization. I’ll pay you well.”

Duncan smiled. “I appreciate that but that would not allow me to travel. I really like to travel. As a matter of fact, I think I’ll head down to Mexico for a little while. Acapulco is nice this time of year.”

Gilbert replied, “Yeah. Got to work on that tan.” He laughed.

Duncan returned the laugh. “Actually, I killed this cop in L.A.”


“Well, I really need to get to Mexico as soon as possible for another reason.”

“I see.” Gilbert continued, “Although, there is one thing I would like to have you do before you leave. I’d appreciate it if you would make this person also lose some body fat as only you can. You see, one of those you killed had a very fine girlfriend who did not appreciate my offer to her if you know what I mean. She can identify me so she needs to go. I’d make it really worth your time and I’m sure you’d enjoy it.”

Duncan replied, “Girlfriend, huh? Sure. Why not?” He laughed.

Mike and Ariel sat at their favorite place in Central Park. It was the same place they sat and talked for the first time. The time since the two have gotten to know each other a lot. However, Mike still wondered something. “Ariel, why is it that you never talk about how someone from Martha’s Vineyard ended up here?”

“This again?”

Mike glared at her. “Yeah. Again. You never tell me anything about before I met you.”

“Does it matter that much? I don’t talk about my family because I don’t get along with them, okay?”

“Why?” Mike really wanted to know everything about Ariel but felt she was keeping something important from him.

“Mike, promise you won’t get mad?”

He nodded.

She took in a deep breath and slowly exhaled. “My father owns Hunter Enterprises.”

Mike tried to think what would be the best way to respond. He wanted to say something but could not find the right words. Everything that came to his mind was something he worried would upset Ariel so he would not say it.

Ariel finally said, “Please say something.”

Mike shook his head. “Ariel, I never knew you were the daughter of Jason Hunter. But now, what do you think I should feel that you kept that from me?”

Ariel replied, “Sorry. But I don’t agree with my father on a lot of things and so I don’t talk to him. And the main thing I don’t agree with him about is metahumans.” She put her hand on his and smiled.

“Ariel, your father’s company built those Metahunters for the government and you kept from me the fact you were his daughter. He made a fortune on the blood of metas.”

Ariel replied, “Yeah but I don’t have a problem with metahumans. After all, I’m dating one now, right?” She smiled.

Seven males surrounded them without their knowing because Mike and Ariel were paying so much attention to each other. The one in front of them said to get their attention, “This park can be dangerous, you know.”

Ariel gave him a polite, small smile. “It can be.”

“Well, it wouldn’t be so dangerous for you two if you would hand over your purse and he give up his wallet.”

Mike stood up and said, “There’s no way that will happen.”

“Don’t try anything stupid, big boy. Your girlfriend might get hurt.”

From behind them a voice came, “Leave them alone.”

The one who seemed to be the leader of the group turned to see Ryder. “I think you need to keep out of this, kid.”

Another walked over to Ryder and grabbed his shirt. “Johnny, maybe he should go home but looking at how he’s dressed, maybe he doesn’t have one.”

Ryder retorted, “You’re so right. However, you’re touching me.” He gave a wicked grin. “Bad move.” Ryder willed the electricity to build up and let loose on the one grabbing his shirt to send him flying backwards. Ryder then noticed the others approaching him. He put up one finger and small amounts of electricity escaped the finger. “I don’t think the rest of you want any of this. Now, get out of here.”

As the gang ran off, Ryder noticed Mike just staring at him with his mouth open. Ryder walked up to Mike and said, “Better close it or something might fly in there. Anyone tell you that you have a big enough mouth that a bat could fly in there?”

Mike just said, “You’re a metahuman, too?”

Ryder looked at Ariel and asked, “Is he always this bright?”

Ariel smiled. She then reached into her purse and pulled out twenty dollars. She held it out to Ryder. “Take this.”

“I didn’t help for money.”

Ariel replied, “I know. But I want you to have it.”

Ryder shook his head. “I didn’t do it for money I said.”

Ariel asked, “What’s your name?”

“Harrison. Ryder Harrison.”

Ariel extended her hand. “Ariel Hunter. And this is Mike Jenkins.”

Ryder quickly looked at Mike who just stared at him. Ryder looked back at Ariel. “Not the old radio talk show guy, right?”

Ariel nodded with a smile.

Ryder continued, “He can’t even put a sentence together and he used to host a talk show?”

Ariel tried to hold back the laugh.

Mike frowned.

Ariel coughed to stop herself from laughing. She then gave Mike a smile before she returned her attention to Ryder. “At least, let us take you to lunch as a thanks.”

Ryder wanted to refuse but it has been a long time since he had a decent meal. “Sure.”

Travis and Kurt rode in the back of a limo to a military installation in Fort Worth. When they arrived to a hangar area, Travis exited the limo and saw a large black plane with two individuals standing outside the jet in conversation. He just stared at the black jet for moment.

Kurt said, “Isn’t the SR-71D impressive? The SR-71 which has been nicknamed the Blackbird is a very powerful plane. It’s a virtual bird of prey. This one is a prototype of the next generation in that line and the most advanced jet in existence.”

Travis just stared at Kurt.

Kurt waited a moment while admiring the jet then continued, “Against popular belief, nobody outside of the government even has a Blackbird. However, thanks to our President, this baby belongs to StormStrike.” He looked at Travis. “Do you know how to fly a plane?”

Travis replied sarcastically, “Why would I really need to learn to fly a plane, Wade?”

Kurt laughed although the look Travis gave him showed he was not trying to be funny. “I forgot. However, not every member of your team will have the power of flight so you might find it handy.”

“Actually, I technically don’t have the power of flight in the true sense of it.”

“What do you mean?”

Travis glanced around the military installation. “My metapower is actually that my body absorbs cosmic energy and converts it into my powers.”

“Interesting.” Kurt looked back at the jet and said, “Let’s get onboard so I can also show you some of the things this baby has packed.”

Jai exited a cab in front of Tartarus and noticed the crime scene was still roped off. She noticed one person being escorted forcefully behind the line by a police officer and slowly made her way over to be able to listen. She figured the noises of the big city would make it harder to listen so she was almost two feet behind the twenty-something female.

“…can’t tell me what’s happening here? What I saw was not right and you know it!”

The police officer replied, “All I can say is nobody is allowed across this line. Nobody.”

As the officer made his way back inside, the female said softly although Jai heard, “Asshole.” The female turned and looked at Jai for a second. Jai could tell she was not happy as she walked away.

Jai stared at the club entrance for a moment. She noticed some people in suits also inside with the police officers but something did not seem right to her about them. Dating Bobby has caused her to see plain clothes officers a lot but there was a different feel to them and that kind of bothered her. She knew they were not local police but feds. It bothered her because she wondered why the feds would be involved in the investigation.

Jai looked as the female was already a half a block away from her. Jai quickly followed the lady down the street. She finally caught up to her after two blocks as her pursuit was not walking slow.

The female stopped and said without turning around. “Why are you following me? Are you a cop?”

Jai walked right up to her back. “No, I’m not a cop.”

She turned to Jai. “Then why are you following me?”

Jai paused a moment. She noticed the female had seem to be crying as her makeup shown. “You were in the club. What did you see?”

She smiled slightly. “Reporter?”


“Then who are you?”

Jai was not sure of the answer to that question anymore herself. “Look, I’ve been tracking someone across the country and he’s in New York. And I believe he’s responsible for what happened in the club.”

“Trying to find a friend?”

“Hell no!” Jai shook her head slowly. “When I find him, I’m going to kill him.” She paused again. Then Jai said deliberately, “Painfully.”


Jai sighed. “If you must know, he killed my boyfriend in L.A.”

“If it’s the same person, then we now have something in common.”

Jai asked, “What do you mean by…?”

“One of the dead in the club was my boyfriend. Do you think you can really kill who did this?”

Jai nodded. “Tell me something. Does the name Gilbert mean anything to you?”

“Yeah. But not out here in the open. Come on.” As she led Jai down the street, she continued, “By the way, my name is Christina but you can call me Christy. And I don’t remember catching your name.”

“I never gave it. You can just call me Jai.”

Christy just smiled slightly then continue to lead Jai to a small apartment building by New York standards. Christy led her down a hallway and stopped at a door marked with the number seven. Christy reached into her pocket and pulled out some keys. She used one to open the door and entered. “Come on in.”

Jai walked in and saw the place was not that big. As for furniture, it had what she would consider the bare minimum. A television, sofa, and table pretty much was it for what would be considered the living room. A small kitchen just to the right with a bar style top for eating. “Your place?”

“One of them. My boyfriend and I would use it when we wanted… um… a fast get together if you know what I mean.”

Jai nodded. She knew what that meant and really did not want to pursue that line of conversation any further. Jai did think how she heard it was mafia leaders killed and her idea was that they were all old men and yet this girl was her age.

Christy forced out a small grin. “Have a seat. Want something to drink? Sorry but nothing here to eat but it’s just… well…”

Jai said, “Yeah, the place you two just use to have sex. And no, I don’t want any alcohol.”

“There’s other drinks. Let’s see here.” Christy looked inside the refrigerator. “Well, seems other than booze, all that’s here is Vanilla Pepsi. It was his favorite.”

Jai heard the sadness in her voice but just returned, “Okay, give me a V.P.”

“You’re really from L.A. Only hear people in L.A. call them that.” Christy handed Jai a can of soda. “I was in L.A. a few months ago.”

“This isn’t about my past,” replied Jai as she opened the can after tapping the top a couple of times with her right index finger. “You have some info that might help me find my boyfriend’s killer, right?”

Christy leaned closer to Jai from the other side of the bar top. She said in almost a whisper as if she did not want anyone else to hear, “You asked about Gilbert. He’s some guy out of Chicago wanting to take over the organized crime here in the Big Apple. He approached me to get information on Vincent’s operation. I turned him down and informed Vincent about it.”

Jai took a drink from the can then set it back down. “Go on.”

“I saw Gilbert one other time and this guy was with him. They didn’t see me but they were outside Tartarus and seemed to be watching it. The other guy scared me. He was one of those people.”

“Those people?”

Christy nodded. “Yeah. One of those who have white hair and his skin was very pale. What do you call those people?”

Jai first thought Christy was referring to him being a meta. She took another drink from the can. “Albino.” Jai paused a second then continued, “My boyfriend’s killer was an albino metahuman who can control gravity. I saw him right after he killed him.”

“Must be the same guy. Not too many albinos around. And considering how the victims in Tartarus looked like they were pressed down flat, it must be the same guy. I’ll see you get paid for killing him.”

Jai shook her head. “No. I already planned to do that so consider it done for free. Do you know where I can find this Gilbert guy? He can lead me to the actual killer but more than likely Gilbert financed the hit on your friend.”

Christy nodded. “When he offered me to betray Vinnie, he told me I could find him at the new place called the Price Tower. It’s over on the east side.”

Jai finished off the soda then stood up. “I think I should pay Mister Gilbert a visit.” Jai made her way to the door. After exchanging goodbyes, she walked out into the hallway. Jai walked down the hallway towards the door. Suddenly, she heard a loud noise behind her and quickly turned. She heard a scream from the room she just left. She ran towards the door and yelled, “Are you okay in there?” When she did not get an answer but heard the sounds of things being broken, she took a step back from the door. She released a burst of flame to blast the door open. First thing she noticed was a large hole where the wall and window used to be.

Duncan had Christy pressed against the ceiling and looked at Jai. “You? Even though your hair is shorter than last time I saw you, I can never forget a beautiful face. What are you doing in New York?”

“Looking for you.” Jai raised her hand towards Duncan and fired a blast towards him.

Duncan barely was able to avoid the shot from Jai. With him not concentrating on holding her up, Christy fell to the ground. Duncan used his gravity control around a large piece of what used to be the wall. He hurled it towards Jai.

Jai blasted the hurled projectile and it shattered. However, she noticed that Duncan left out through the wall area. Jai ran over to Christy. “Are you okay?” After Christy slowly nodded, Jai said, “Good. I think this is a sign that it would be good for you to leave town. Now, I got work to do.”

Jai ran outside through the hole in the wall. She noticed that Duncan was calmly standing across the street. Jai found it odd that he had a smile on his face. She noticed that he slightly looked over her head. She looked up and noticed a car was hovering over her head about twenty feet. As it suddenly started falling, she ran from underneath it to avoid it.

Jai noticed another car parked close to where Duncan was standing. She fired at the car that caused it to catch fire.

Duncan asked, “Losing your aim, my dear?”

“No.” Jai sniffed then gave a wicked smile. “Gas.”

Duncan’s eyes grew wide as the car exploded. The force from the explosion shot him backwards for about fifteen feet. He used his gravity power to gently lower himself to the ground instead of slamming into it.

Mike, Ariel, and Ryder sat at a sidewalk café just a block away from Price Tower. Mike just watched Ryder eating his food rapidly with a look of distain on his face. Ariel just smiled at Ryder and watched much to Mike’s dismay. Mike finally had to say something. “Fast little eater, aren’t you? Don’t worry. It won’t run away.”

Ryder looked at Mike. “Have you eaten here before?” After Mike nodded, Ryder continued, “Then guess if it didn’t run away from you, then it’s safe.”

“Look, kid, I’ve had about enough of your…”

Ariel cut him off. “Mike, can’t you see he’s just having fun with you?” She smiled at Ryder. “Mind if I ask why are you homeless?”

“I ran away from home.”

Ariel asked, “Why?”

Ryder held up his index finger and allowed a very small amount of lightning to escape. “That’s why.”

Ariel replied, “Ryder, I think Mike has plenty of space at his place so you wouldn’t have to be homeless anymore.”

“What?” Mike stared at Ariel and frowned.

Ariel smiled. “Would you rather I let him stay with me? After he helped us, I wouldn’t feel right leaving him on the streets.” Ariel gave Mike that one kind of smile that always worked on him.

Mike looked over at Ryder who had a half-smile on his face then looked back at Ariel. He knew there was absolutely no way he would win this one. “Okay. But first time he gets on my nerves, I’m bouncing him out on his nose.” He paused a moment. “And more than likely, that will happen fifteen minutes after he moves in.”

Ariel leaned closer to Ryder and whispered, “Believe it or not, he’s not always so tough.”

Ryder smirked. “Nice to know he’s reserving it for me.” He looked at Mike. “Can I ask you something? Why aren’t you still on the radio?”

Mike just shook his head and got up.

As Mike walked off, Ryder asked, “Did I say something wrong?”

Ariel replied, “He’s a metahuman like you. When the station found out, they gave him what they called a leave of absence.” She noticed something odd as people seemed to be all running in one direction by the café. “What’s going on?” She looked in the direction of where the crowds were heading away from. “Now there’s something you don’t see everyday. I know New York has some odd sights sometimes but that’s just not right.”

Ryder turned in his seat to see what she had her saying that. He looked up to see a statue that he had seen before since arriving in New York hovering above a building two doors away from the café. He had actually slept not far from the statue of Ari Schindler that normally stayed in Central Park. Suddenly, the statue took a nose dive down behind a building at a nice speed which Ryder realized could cause damage with such force. Almost instantly, a streak of fire shot into the air from the direction where the statue would have landed.

Ariel continued softly, “Maybe you and Mike aren’t the only metahumans on this block at the moment.”

“Excuse me.” Ryder quickly jumped up out of his seat and ran towards the events he just witnessed without heeding the calls from Ariel to wait. Ryder made his way through the crowds. He thought how it must seem strange for him to be heading in the opposite direction as everyone else.

Ryder noticed another statue, this time the statue Balto, shot over his head heading towards the same location where he saw the other one drop. And once again, another blast of fire. When he was about to turn the corner to see what was happening, Ryder was shocked to see Jai get thrown through the air and slammed against a parked motorcycle.

Duncan calmly walked towards Jai. “Look, babe, I’m done playing with you. You are really beginning to piss me off and I won’t care how good looking…” He looked at Ryder. “Hey, kid, get out of here.”

Ryder looked at Jai who showed she was in pain from the recent hit she took. Then Ryder realized she looked familiar to him. He saw her recently for a brief moment. “That’s no way to treat a lady.”

As Jai slowly tried to make her way to her feet, Duncan used his gravity control ability to press her back down to the ground. He said again, “Kid, I won’t say it again! Get the hell out of here!” He took a few more steps closer to Jai to cause Ryder to be standing behind him. “Don’t you see I’m a metahuman, kid?”

Ryder watched as Jai could not get up off the ground. And he noticed the pain she was in was caused by the force Duncan was putting on her. Ryder looked at Duncan’s back and formed a fist with his right hand. Ryder said deliberately, “Yeah, I see you’re a meta. But there’s something you should also know. So am I.”

“What?” Duncan quickly spun around to Ryder.

Ryder unleashed a bolt of electricity at Duncan that threw him across through the glass door of the building across the street. “Like I said before, that’s no way to treat a lady.” Ryder walked up to Jai and extended a hand to her.

Jai cautiously took his hand to stand up. “Thanks. But this doesn’t concern you.”

Ryder replied, “He was trying to kill you. So figured he wasn’t that nice.”

“Kid, I plan to kill him. Guess that makes me not nice as well, doesn’t it?”

Ryder shrugged.

Jai continued, “Exactly my point. You don’t know me. Now, like he said, get out of here.”

Before Ryder could reply, he heard a strange sound from the building across the street. Then the building suddenly shot into the air. Ryder noticed the horror on some faces of people in the windows before it vanished into the clouds above. “What the…?”

Then Duncan walked out of the rubble where the building used to stand. He looked very unhappy. He used his gravity control to quickly get both Jai and Ryder off the ground. Duncan quickly increased the gravity to slam them both down on the ground. Then he lifted them back up then slammed them back down again. After doing it three times, he walked closer to them. “Now, it’s time for you two to die.”

Ryder was in a great amount of pain due to the fact he had just been slammed to the concrete three times. He forced out, “This is your last chance to quit this.”

Duncan glared at Ryder. “You still think you can stop me, kid? You can’t touch me!”

“I don’t plan to.” Ryder paused a brief moment. “But he does.”

Duncan responded, “You expect me to fall for the old someone is behind me ploy? C’mon, kid, you can do better than that.”

Ryder smiled slightly.

Mike who stood behind Duncan grabbed him, lifted him, and threw him as far as he could. As Duncan disappeared in the distance over a building, Mike asked Ryder, “What did you do to cause this? I know it has to be your fault.”

Ryder gave Mike his best innocent grin. “Me? I was wondering when you’d show up. But I guess this means you don’t hate me after all.”

Mike snarled, “I only did it because Ariel asked me to look after you.”

“Well, you sure took long enough to get here. Maybe you are slow in more ways than one.” Ryder gave Mike a smug smile.

Mike grabbed Ryder by the shirt. “That’s it! I’m going to beat the sh…!”

Jai said, “Look, you two can do what you want but I got to go kill that guy.”

Mike replied, “He’s dead already.” When Mike noticed the expression on Jai’s face, he said, “What? He couldn’t have survived a fall like that, could he?”

Ryder thought about it a moment then looked at Jai. “Oh, man! He hasn’t even landed yet, has he?” He looked up at Mike and said, “You can let go of my shirt.”

Jai shook her head with a disgusted expression on her face.

Mike asked, “What are you talking about?”

Ryder answered, “That guy can control gravity. He stopped himself from becoming a spot on the pavement. And you can let me go now.”

Jai added, “In other words, your big friend here just helped him get away from me again. Only thing you two are good for is comedy relief.”

Mike retorted, “Look, lady, if not…”

Ryder said, “Lady, if I remember correctly, he was about to kill you until I showed up to help.” He looked up at Mike. “You can let go anytime now.”

Jai glared at them while holding onto her left side. She knew something was not right but she refused to show them anything. “I didn’t ask for any help and I didn’t want it!”

Mike looked in the direction he threw Duncan. He slowly let go of Ryder’s shirt and said, “Um… tell me that isn’t the Chrysler Building.”

Ryder straightened up his shirt then said offhandedly without looking, “Yeah, the Chrysler Building is over that way. It’s no big deal. Sheesh, I thought you’ve been in New York long enough by now to…”

Mike said while pointing into the air, “No. Tell me that isn’t the Chrysler Building heading this way.”

Ryder turned and noticed the top of the Chrysler Building flying through the air towards them. “Whoa!”

Jai grabbed Ryder. “Stick close, kid!” She hastily pulled Ryder closer to Mike which was not easy when the pain shot through the left side of her body.

The top of the building came crashing down on top of them.

Duncan looked from a distance then said, “Damn New Yorkers don’t know how to stay out of other people’s business! Guess that will show ’em for throwing me a mile away! Now, my search continues.” He turned and made his way away from the scene.

The remains of the top of the Chrysler Building began to glow red then suddenly a blast of fire streaked into the sky.

Travis and Kurt sat in the back seats of the SR-71D as they flew to Washington DC. Kurt said, “…is how we plan to do this. What else would it take to get you to join?”

Travis replied, “I don’t like the idea of being at your whim to be honest.”

Kurt smiled. “You won’t be. We need to do damage control. Last thing we want is to make slaves out of metas.”

As Travis was about to reply, the pilot called back, “Mister Wade, you have an urgent call coming in from the NSA.”

“I got it.” Kurt walked up to the cockpit and sat down in the second pilot seat. He put on an earpiece and mic. “This is Kurt Wade. Go ahead.” He paused a moment. “New York? Is our meta okay there?” He paused quite a bit longer this time. “Oh, man. This is not good news. I’m on it. Wade out.” He walked back to sit back in his original seat.

Travis asked, “What is it?”

“There was a battle between some metahumans in New York. A lot of property damage. Many human bystanders lost as a building was ripped from it’s foundation and shot into the air and we still have no idea where it landed. Plus, the Chrysler Building had the top ripped off and dropped about a mile away. The body count hasn’t been totaled yet. And we had an idea of another person who would have been a great addition to StormStrike and we’ve lost him before we ever had him.” He leaned back in his seat and just stared off into the air.

Travis waited for Kurt to say something. Travis was expecting Kurt to give him an order or something. Use this as the first attempt to boss him around but instead Travis noticed that Kurt looked really worried about what happened. To Travis, there was something to be said for Kurt’s reaction. Finally, Travis said, “DC will have to wait, Wade. Get me to New York.”

Kurt shook his head but continued to stare off into space. “No. You will be outside your jurisdiction there, Travis. It’s not Dallas. Maybe the idea of StormStrike is already dead. You aren’t sold on the idea and maybe you’re right.”

“With my metapower, I can get there whether you help me or not. However, you’re right about it being outside my jurisdiction. But it wouldn’t be outside my jurisdiction if I accept your offer in the NSA.” When Kurt looked over at him, Travis continued, “I got work to do.”