Chapter 2: Not a damsel, but in distress
Chapter 2 – Not a damsel, but in distress
“It tore me apart. But I learned an important lesson. You can’t count on anyone, especially your heroes.”
~ Buddy Pine (Syndrome)
As if the last couple of weeks couldn’t get any worse.
I was just driving home with Ian, avoiding questions about last night and trying to diverge the conversation away from White Lightning, per usual, when the car stopped and four men in ski masks dragged us out.
Now, before you ask why I didn’t go all out and use my powers on them, the answer is simple.
No one could know who I was. No one. That meant under most any circumstance, I was not allowed to tell Ian who I was, which included using my powers around him. Why wasn’t being kidnapped by a bunch of guys in ski masks an acceptable exception to that rule? Well, for one, these guys were not amateurs. They waited until we were far enough away from Eldredge Academy to stop the car, and waited for us to drive down an abandoned street, so as there would be no witnesses. They wore masks, a sheer sign that they were planning on letting us go at some point. Once you knew a criminal’s identity, they couldn’t let you go. If you escaped and told the police their identity, then their whole plan falls to shit.
Plus, the big white van pulled up next to the limo was obviously their ride (always trust a man in a big white van, right?). Why go through the trouble of riding such a conspicuous vehicle without a good reason to use it?
When I shocked the one who was dragging me out of the limo, it wasn’t intentional. It was a reaction to the rising levels of adrenaline and other hormones in my body. The same thing happened when I kissed someone or was in a fight. Whenever I felt levels of high emotion, sparks literally flew off of me.
I knew that I could get us out of a kidnapping. These guys probably just kidnapped Ian for ransom. He was the son of the Secretary of State after all. The United States officially ‘didn’t negotiate with terrorists,’ but we all knew that ‘Madame Secretary’ would pay any price to get her dear children back.
I just couldn’t wait to see the reactions of the kidnappers when they found out Ian’s friend was not another rich kid at the Academy, but just a dirt poor scholarship kid from the other side of town that they couldn’t get any money out of.
I wasn’t worried too much about what they would do with me. I obviously was worth nothing to them except as the friend of a rich kid. If they tried killing me because I was worth nothing to them, then I would use my powers. I would only use them in life threatening situations for either me or someone I cared about. And, so far, this situation wasn’t too life threatening – only Ian’s money threatening.
So when I woke up next to Ian who knew how many hours later, I wasn’t surprised to see us siting in a big empty factory with the kidnappers surrounding a table a couple yards away.
I heard a couple mentions of “ransom” and “drop off,” so I guessed they were talking about when to pick up whatever ransom money that they had demanded from Ian’s mom. I knew that the police would do anything in their power not to give the money to the kidnappers, but even all their precautions could be useless.
“So, why do you think they have us?” Ian asked.
I gave him a dumbfounded look. “You are the son of the Secretary of the State. They probably kidnapped you for ransom, or maybe even to stop your mother from doing some sort of political action. Maybe these men are Remedists who hate your mother’s policy on the good treatment of supers. The only common denominator is your mother.”
The Remedists were a relatively new political party. They were mostly formed of radical Republicans whose main policy was the downfall of supers. They claimed that supers caused more harm than good, which I took as a personal insult. They formed after the Revealing down in Empire City. All the supers’ identities were revealed, and they were all college kids with more than questionable pasts. Two of them had super villain parents, one was a millionaire playboy, one was a top secret agent for an agency unnamed (which was really MASKED), one was an underprivileged kid from the bad part of Iris City, and one was a teen with a white knight complex.
The fact that most of the city’s saviors had been teenagers was what set off the politicians. They didn’t think they could trust people so young to save them.
The Remedists also plan to enact a Captain America Civil War type of program. They want to sign every super down on a list, so they can keep track of them all. They want every super, hero or villain, to take off their mask in the face of treason, and the same goes for supers found not on the roll.
It seemed ridiculous that anyone would follow them, but most upper-class adults did. It was mostly the baby-boomer generation, because I knew today’s teenagers absolutely hated the Remedist party.
(Unless, you know, they’re just blindly following what their parents believe.)
“Well, we don’t know for sure that they wanted me for ransom. What about you?”
I coughed out a strangled laugh. “Are you joking? I’m dirt poor. I was just a precaution, a witness.”
I sighed and rested my head against the wall. I really didn’t want to day to be the day I showed Ian I was White Lightning. Well, I didn’t really want any day to be that day. I don’t want him to find out how long I’ve been lying to him – misleading him – from the truth. He would definitely have mixed feelings about his best friend being a superhero.
“Well, maybe we just have to wait for White Lightning to show up.”
“What?” I sat up, now paying full attention.
Ian shrugged. “I’m not exactly a damsel, but I’m in distress. I mean – doesn’t White Lightning usually help the police out with high profile cases like this? Like when he stopped that assassination attempt on the president last year? I’m the son of the lady who is fourth in line for the presidency. Isn’t that enough?”
I was stumped. White Lightning could not come in and save us because I was White Lighting. I hadn’t even thought of that. The police would be looking for my help, but I wouldn’t be answering. God, I hoped Eric could hold down the fort.
Eric was the other employee at the Comic Book Shop. He was also the only other person alive that knew of my secret identity if you didn’t count MASKED (they knew every super’s identity, nothing really got passed them) and he put it to good use. He spent most of his time down in the Man Cave, which was two floors below the Comic Book Shop. He would scan through media hits and his police scanner, looking for possible disasters for me to fix. He was also the only one there to answer the phone when the police came calling. I wonder what excuse he could possibly make up for my absence.
My watch vibrated and I cursed under my breath. Didn’t Eric know that I couldn’t talk if I was currently being held hostage?
“Oh, yeah. I was meaning to ask you about that.” Ian said, gesturing to my watch. “They took our phones when we got here, so what vibrating, dude?”
My hands were behind my back, as were his, so he couldn’t see the pulsing blue light that was probably coming off of my watch. Maybe Eric was trying to tell me that help was on the way or something, but I had no way of checking unless I wanted to suddenly become flexible in the next two seconds. The kidnappers had tied us with zip ties, and I was not risking trying to electrocute those. I might’ve been invulnerable to electricity, but melting plastic would most definitely not do my skin wonders.
“My watch. I had an alarm set on it.” I lied partly.
He scoffed, “Dude, that thing’s gone off at least three times in the last ten minutes. What did you set the alarm for, immediate danger?”
He didn’t know how right he was.
I was about to answer some smart retort, but then I saw a flash of purple smoke out of the corner of my eye.
No, it couldn’t be.
One of the men screamed out in pain. He had been away from the rest, and was now on the ground, a dark figure standing over him. The dark figure hit the man over the head with what looked like a lead pipe. Purple smoke overcame her and she suddenly disappeared, only to reappear a couple feet away, taking down another masked man with her lead pipe.
It was Delinquent.
Man, was I finally happy to see her.
Delinquent was a vigilante super who started to show up not too long ago. She could teleport, and she must’ve upgraded on her utility belt since I last saw her. The city is still unsure what to think about her. Most media polls are calling her more of a hero now that she helped me save those kids from the overturned Paramount Pharmaceuticals truck a week ago and the fact that she fought Andromeda.
Everyone thought she was a villain at first, including me, because she was attacking those Paramount Pharmaceuticals trucks and painting graffiti of harsh political opinions on walls. But she was justified in both. She had been one of the teenagers harmed in the Paramount Pharmaceuticals incident. They had made ADD and ADHD medicine that somehow gave its takers super powers. Only about 5% of the takers actually got powers, but those were just the ones whose parents filed for the lawsuit against the company.
When the last bad guy was down, Delinquent looked at us for the first time. Technically, this should be my first time seeing her. The only times I’d ever been around her was when I was White Lightning, not Oliver Storm. So, technically, this was her first time seeing me as well.
“Well, it looks like rich boys do have fun,” she commented, walking towards us to help take off the zip ties.
Ian smiled, always the charmer. “If I’d known I would be saved by a girl such as yourself, I would’ve dressed a little less disheveled.”
She laughed. “The flirting won’t work one me.”
Ian shrugged, not every girl could be won over by his ‘irresistible’ charm. “So, if you’re saving us, where’s White Lightning?”
She ripped apart Ian’s zip ties and he rubbed his wrists thankfully. Those kidnappers kind of cut off the circulation in our wrists. My hands were already falling asleep.
“Well, he’s a little tied up right now with something else. Don’t worry, I’m sure he’ll be back to saving lives soon.” She smirked at me and cut my zip ties off as well.
The police came barging in at that exact moment, guns blazing.
Delinquent smirked again at both of us. “See you around boys.”
She disappeared into a cloud of purple smoke just as the officers were getting close to us. I noticed Detective Pearson at the head of the pack.
Detective Pearson was the detective who headed the super task force, He tried to solve the super crimes, while I stopped them. We had a mutual relationship, plus his daughter was a freshman at Eldredge Academy (on a scholarship like me).
“Ian Thompson? Oliver Storm?” he asked.
We both nodded and he gestured for his men to search the place. I knew he wouldn’t find anymore kidnappers. Delinquent would’ve most likely already checked for that.
“We’re here to take you home, boys.”