Thursday, February 8, 2018

Blue Nexus #79 - Sweet Release

Previously in "Blue Nexus": Dr. Boomer was once a mad scientist, hellbent on taking the power of the Nexus, but upon Alucard's awakening, he has fought for the side of good. He's served the Zanderia as an ally and confidant in their latest struggles. Kyle, though, has been out in space, and out of touch with the goings-on of Earth, learning that trust is not so easily given or received. Now, he returns home, as an important hearing begins.

Kyle sat hesitantly in his living room while Kip and Luke took turns at the pizza pie simmering on the counter behind them. Kyle tapped his Blue Nexus bracelet, igniting the light within it but not triggering the transformation. He leaned forward, getting a little closer to the TV while the camera slowly zoomed on the Capitol building in Washington D.C.
            Dozens of other helicopters hovered nearby. A militia was drawn up near the building, and a massive black truck stood at the base of Capitol Hill. Even more military men were lined up alongside the steps. Next the black truck, standing out in her red getup, was Brenda as Shindari. She placed her hand on the truck and a red cube sealed it in.
            The reporters in the helicopter talked to the ones back at the station. Kip took his seat next to Kyle, carefully managing his two slices of pizza so they wouldn’t topple over onto Kyle. Luke just balanced his slices in his hand, and stood behind the couch, also watching the TV quite intently.
            Kyle read the headline again. Former mad scientist to be released from Zanderia control. It was all true. Boomer’s allotted time in the Cube was up, and he was to be taken to a new holding location that was supposed to be decided by the Zanderia before the United States government, as well as some other world leaders, decided that the Zanderia had had Boomer far too long and it’d be best if he were in their less-than-capable hands.
            It was decided, then, for a hearing to be held. Riko and Phoenix were designated as the defendants of the Zanderia, but only Riko had gone in to speak alongside Boomer. Riko, from what Kyle understood, wasn’t looking to free Boomer so much as he was trying to make it so the Zanderia were his immediate watchers. The government wasn’t taking too kindly to that; they claimed that, since he was preparing to commit acts of terrorism on United States soil, they had full rein on his situation.
            Even without the dispute, the situation would’ve drawn a hell of a crowd. Now? Every major network had men and women on site, and all local news broadcasts were channeling their feeds in from there.
            “I should be there,” Kyle said. “I didn’t get called back home just to sit on the couch and watch this happen.”
            The cameras zoomed on Brenda, then refocused to the top of Capitol Hill where Phoenix was. He perched next to the American flag, surveying the crowds below.
            “No way, dude, you’re fine here,” Kip said. “They would’ve had you unmask if you had to go in there. Wasn’t that the deal?”
            “Then Brenda should at least be allowed in,” Kyle said. “Phoenix and Riko weren’t there when Boomer fought against Alucard.”
            “Not a chance they’d let her in,” Luke said. “She’s an alien.”
            Kyle flung the remote across the couch. It spun and caught between two pillows. Kyle shook his head.
            “How many years do you think he’ll get on the sentence?” Kyle asked.
            “I think he’s lucky if he walks,” Kip said.
            “It’s a tough decision,” Luke said. He took a bite from his pizza. “He saved a city, but is the reason Alucard got to rise to power,” he said with a mouth full of pizza.
            “Agreed,” Kip said from behind a cup. He set the cup down and rubbed his mouth, then raised his eyebrows and shrugged. “And I think that’s what’ll get him.”
            “He’s had good behavior in the Cube and fought one of the Six Pillars,” Kyle said.
            “Killed one of the Six Pillars,” Kip clarified. “Pretty sure that’s a Zanderia no-no.”
            “He isn’t a Zanderia member,” Kyle said.
            “So it’s okay if he kills people?” Luke asked.
            Kyle groaned and leaned his head back. “This is why we don’t listen to the godly voices in our heads, because it leads to freaking court drama.”
            The low-volume voices of the reporters continued to filter into the room, but they caught Kyle’s attention with their conversation.
            The screen was split in two, with one half being the reporter back at the headquarters while the other was on-site, near the steps at Capitol Hill.
            “No word yet on if the United State’s very own superhuman team, the so-called Delta Squad, will be on the scene to rival—sorry—aid the Zanderia’s presence,” the reporter said. “We’ve reached out to government officials and received no comment.”
            “Why aren’t they there?” Kyle asked nobody.
            “They’re probably waiting for him wherever he’s supposed to be going,” Luke said. “Like a hand-off or something.”
            Kyle scratched his head. “Gah. So stupid. The Delta squad should stay far enough away. They tried to kill us a few months ago!”
            “A conveniently covered-up highway accident,” Kip reminded Kyle, and Kyle rolled his eyes.
            The cameras cut back to the reporter who was not ready for the cut. She nimbly readjusted herself and smiled at the camera, but the feed cut once again to a camera within the courtroom in the Capitol building.
            Before the camera could focus on it, Kyle took notice of Boomer. He looked healthy, fit, and actually better than he had before his sentencing into the Cube. When the cameras zoomed on him, Kyle saw Riko walk into frame. He was, strangely, in a suit, but was in his gray Martian form. His bulging muscles intimidated the people and guards around him.
            Kyle reached for his Zandeira communicator. Luke shot his hand down and stopped Kyle. “Don’t do anything stupid. You try and talk to them now and they’ll probably trace the feed right back here.”
            “I should at least be able to tell Riko what happened that day,” Kyle said. “Right? Isn’t that fair?”
            “It’s not smart,” Luke said.
            Kyle stared at the communicator, and then to Luke’s hand, and replaced the communicator behind his back.
            “Fine,” Kyle said. “Guess we just gotta hope for the best, then.”
            The volume from the newsfeed adjusted and they could hear the humdrum of government officials slowly rise, and then simmer down as the courtroom officials started to shuffle in. Everyone in the crowd rose. The newscasters were totally silent. Kyle felt tension starting to tighten within him.
            “Good afternoon,” the Chief Justice said. Kyle didn’t know her name. “We’ll make this brief; it’s not often we deal with prisoner hearing or holdings.” She tilted her head toward Riko, who stood near the shackled Boomer. “Mr…Riko, would you like to start us off?”
            “Of course, Your Honor,” Riko said, and stepped forward. All eyes were upon him.
            “Is there another name, one you’re more comfortable with, that we can call you?”
            Riko chuckled. His deep voice seemed to unsettle the watching crowd. “I don’t believe you’d be able to pronounce it and not break out into a fit of laughter, Your Honor. Just plain Riko is fine, but thank you for your consideration.”
            “Is that true?” Kip asked.
            “You don’t think Rraklkionekkekenotto is a fitting name?” Kyle asked, spelling it for them on a nearby napkin.”
            “How’d you say that?” Kip asked.
            “Right, good, then we can get straight to business. Riko, I’m sure you understand the gravity of the situation here. This man is accused of plotting an act of terror against the United States of America, violating significant university research laws, several laws against human rights, and corresponding with a known terrorist.”
            “So, at what point five years ago did anyone think that a dark wizard from centuries ago would be considered a known terrorist?” Kip asked.
            “You’d think they’d also nail him for building a research lab underground without a permit,” Luke said, taking a bite out of his pizza.
            “Not to mention unfacilitated building of research facilities without an approved Amelia County permit,” the Chief Justice said, lowering her glasses and leaning forward. “But that’s besides the point.”
            “All of these things are true and undeniable,” Riko said. “Alucard was a threat not just against the United States of America, but of the world and beyond. He ushered in the awakening of a being whose power is incomprehensible to everyone save for Mr. Boomer and myself, and even then, only mages can really understand what Rafael was capable of.”
            “You’re doing a poor job defending this man, Riko,” one of the Justices said.
            “I’m not trying to defend anyone,” Riko said, “rather, I’m trying to lay some weight to the claims you’re making against this individual.”
            “Saying individual is cutting him short, isn’t it?” that same Justice asked. “One individual seems to have trastically changed how our world at large operates.” He gestured at Riko. “Look at you. The first extraterrestrial we’ve ever encountered, and now we have one every other month coming to our planet.”
            “The power of an individual cannot be overstated but the power of a group cannot be fathomed,” Riko said. “That is what the Zanderia is. A group, a coalition of the galaxy’s greatest heroes and fighters that have diligently kept watch over this man, this one man.”
            “And yet, there’s rumor that he murdered one the great Six Pillars of Magic,” one of the Justices said. “Is this true?”
            “That information is classified by the Zanderia,” Riko said.
            “An organization that has no government support and no means of classification,” the Chief Justice said.
            “Then it’s on a need-to-know basis,” Riko said. “And you get the point.”
            “What I want to know is what gives the Zanderia the legal right to hold this man when they have no legal rights at all,” the Chief Justice said. “The Zanderia cannot operate in a court of law. Riko, you are here as an honored guest of this Supreme Court, but I don’t seem to understand how you think there’s a negotiation to be had.”
            “Because this is a court where decisions are made not by one but by many,” Riko said. “If the United States government believed this wasn’t a case but a transfer then I wouldn’t be here.” Riko turned and held up a file from one of the folders he had. “This document details a report written by one of my comrades about an attack made against them by the United States government. It references several others, wherein others were besieged by the British, Italian, Russian, Chinese, and Japanese governments as well. These are acts against the Zanderia, acts that were violent and were carried out with intent.”
            Riko threw the documents to the ground and stepped on them. Kyle swallowed the lump in his throat and realized how close he was to falling off the couch. He leaned back. Riko continued.
            “And they were all written years ago, back when we were seen as super criminals and the line between hero and villain was blurred,” Riko said. “Even now, there are those who think of us as urban myth. Events that happened are just stories.” He surveyed the room. “I’d like all of you in here to be honest with me: how many among you believe that an ancient demigod rose from a slumber millennia in progress in downtown Pacific City and would, weeks later, rise to deific status?”
            Most of the room raised their hands. Some did not. Riko nodded, and the Chief Justice banged her gavel down.
            “What’s your point?” she asked.
            “I don’t come here as your enemy, but as your ally. It’s what the Zanderia has always been to all nations of this world who would do good. We help those who do good, and want to help others see the good in this world. There are some, though, that come into this naturally.” He half-turned to Boomer. “What this man has done is both tragic and heroic. He fell victim to a dark mage who wanted nothing more than to give him power. He fell susceptible to the whim of a goddess who…”
            The Chief Justice slammed her gavel down again. “A goddess?”
            Kyle bowed and shook his head. “Damn it.”
            Riko sighed. “I misspoke, forgive me. Someone who…who resembled a goddess, who spoke of herself as such, but has far-reaching abilities. This man fell prey to that, and became a victim of circumstance. He fared little better than anyone in this room, including myself, but has risen the better for it. He saved people in East City, and actively fought against the Six Pillars. Ladies and gentlemen, this man is no hero, but he is certainly not villain, either.”
            “His past transgressions still stand, to your own admittance,” the Chief Justice said.
            “As do everyone’s,” Riko said.
            “That’s fantastic, Mr. Riko, but you have to consider that as these crimes were committed on United States soil, and since he is a citizen of the United States, he shall be detained as we see fit.”
            “And place him through a trial that will take how long?” Riko asked. “While we allow this man to rot in a cell for years, we’re missing out on so many opportunities to work with him. This is a brilliant, brilliant scientist, ladies and gentleman. We’d squander such an opportunity.”
            “You’ve done it before,” the Chief Justice said. “How many of your locked-up super villains are brilliant in their own right.”
            “Are you asking that we set others free?”
            “I’m asking what the difference between Boomer and the others is.”
            “He stood up when he was given the chance to be a hero,” Riko said. “He stood and fought while your military—!” Riko stopped, exhaling. The entire room was silent. The Chief Justice lowered her gavel. Riko lowered his hands. “Did everything they could given their circumstances. What I suggest is this: house arrest, in a government-owned building, with remedial checkups by select members of the Zanderia. We can monitor him, his communications, but we do not limit him unless he begins to reach beyond the law.”
            “It’s prison,” the Chief Justice said.
            “In the Cube he was placed all by himself, since we were afraid of the capabilities he had with others,” Riko said. “Mr. Boomer proved himself a noble ally in his time in the Cube, and we should afford him more space. If we are diligent with this man we can keep him safe. There will be others who will want to hunt him down.”
            The Chief Justice squinted down at Riko, then slammed her gavel down again. “Mr. Boomer will serve five months house arrest and then we shall reconvene here, five months to the day, to discuss his behavior and where to go next.” She sat up. “Mr. Mercer?”
            Riko straightened up, looking confused. Kyle’s hands flew to his mouth and he stood up, placing his pizza down on the tray.
            “Mercer, what, who’s that?” Kip asked.        
            “Ah, damn it, we should’ve known,” Kyle said.       
            “Who is it?” Kip asked.
            Luke was quickly on his phone. Kyle returned to looking at the TV. A man with dark, long brown hair slid forth, flanked by five suited individuals in sunglasses. Kyle recognized all five of them immediately, just based on their physiques.
            “I thought the Delta Squadron was staying out of this affair,” Riko said.    
            “We shall discuss a proper safehouse for Mr. Boomer to go to and he shall be relocated there by the afternoon,” the Chief Justice said. She grinned. Kyle had his Zanderia communicator out immediately.
            Kip whipped around and clasped his hand. Kyle tightened his grip on the communicator, but shook his head and tossed it on the couch.
            “Damn it!” Kyle exclaimed. “Played right into their hands.”
            Mr. Mercer held his hand out to Riko. “No need to worry, sir, we’ll handle it from here. I can think of a few places we can take him. I’ll be in contact with you upon immediate arrival if you wish to visit Mr. Boomer.”
            Riko took his hand, gingerly, so not to break it. “Thank you, sir.”
            The court began to disassemble as Mr. Mercer turned and stood next to Boomer, talking with him, but the microphones weren’t picking it up. The reporter from before began speaking until the one from the local station jumped in with a panel of “experts” on the subject. Kyle ran his hands through his hair.
            The Zanderia communicator went off, pinging like crazy. Kyle nodded and Kip tossed it to Kyle. He saw the light in Kip’s eyes brighten as he threw his best friend a device used exclusively by superheroes, and the yearning did not leave his face any time soon.
            “I would’ve laughed so hard if you dropped it,” Luke said.
            Kyle pressed the button and Riko’s holographic image formed in. Kyle locked up, and it must’ve shown.            
            “What’s wrong, Blue Nexus?” Riko asked.  
            “Uh, is this safe?” Kyle asked, peering back at the television screen. But Riko was still there, standing, watching the people in the courtroom. “Wait, what?”
            “Ah, it’s an old trick Phoenix and I worked out years ago with Eclipse,” Riko said. “Right now that’s Phoenix posing for me, as Eclipse works a thought projection around him. You thought Reality mages were the only ones capable of this, aren’t you?”
            “Then who is posing as Phoenix?”
            “Silver Eagle.”
            “Oh no way.”
            Riko’s hologram waved his hands through the air. “Not important. Listen, I was watching the entire time. Phoenix did as we asked but we didn’t anticipate there being involvement with the Delta Squad. We were hoping to get a chance to be the ones that transported Boomer to his new location. It’s why we contacted you back to Earth; if there were to be any time for any of Cata’s minions to attack, now would be the time.”
            Kyle nodded. “You think Gargador might show up.”
            “If he does we’ll need you. I may be able to handle him but if he were to come with others we’d be outmatched.”
            “I’ll be there,” Kyle said. “Tell me when and where.”
            Kyle and Riko soared above the clouds, just twenty feet from each other. Kyle had his aura up to heighten his senses so he could hear Riko over their rapid movement. They’d let the moving truck get ahead of them by a few miles before they gave pursuit. Both Kyle and Riko had scanners, gifted to them by Phoenix when he was back to normal in Washington, to keep an eye on their movement.
            The scanners were under-the-radar enough for the signals of the Delta Squadron not to pick up. There were three vehicles, all moving at separate paces, posed as just a family on the move. If one were to take a look inside, though, they’d see the Delta Squad in their new outfits: metallic silver, made to adapt to their abilities. They were made to resemble, apparently, the armor that the Venus Molten Men used, as well as using alloys grafted from the mech suit that’d been used against Kyle and Yusero, the boy from the future they were sent to detain.
            The two escort vehicles were also packed with an expert Spec-Ops team. Kyle checked the radar again. Boomer was doing fine, sitting between two Delta members. They were travelling fast, moving at almost ninety miles per hour down a pretty vacant highway.
            Phoenix had ascertained the pending location, despite the government’s best attempts at shooting him down: a rural town in Pennsylvania, not too far from an Amish community (that was actually a society flung a few hundred years into the future, not too big a deal according to time-traveler Brother Time). They were set to arrive in a few hours, and Kyle and Riko were going to ensure that he was brought to the proper location.
            So far so good, Kyle thought. Neither of them had been spotted yet. Kyle looked around again. No news choppers or anyone else giving them chase. He had no idea how they managed to smuggle Boomer out of the Capitol Building without anyone noticing. He raised and eyebrow, and turned to Riko. A small fly buzzed away from his face at the last second.           
            “How’d we manage this?” Kyle asked. Stupid question.
            Riko turned and smiled. “Shindari is overseeing the transport of a different person in the heavily armed truck that’s being watched by the Delta Squad,” Riko said. “It’s the decoy that you’d be watching if you’re following the news.”
            “Wait, are there more members to the Delta Squad?” Kyle asked.   
            “Blue Nexus, it’s a squad,” Riko boomed. “It’s more than just five people. We’re following their main team, the one you encountered a few months ago. Brenda is with Mr. Mercer and their Omega team.”
            “Omega Team?”         
            Riko shrugged. “I don’t keep up with these things. I find it best to avoid contact with world government officials when I can, they’re never all that kind to me.”
            “I noticed, and it wasn’t even really you,” Kyle said. He felt some turbulence and adjusted, holding the radar tight. “How armored is the truck they’re carrying Boomer in now?”  
            “Much more than the fake,” Riko said. “It’s supposed to be able to tank a missile blast.”
            “A missile?” Kyle asked. “That’s insane.”
            “That’s the advancement of human technology,” Riko said.
            Kyle shook his head, and heard beeping. He went to check his communicator but saw that it was the radar. He saw Riko move.
            “Two bogeys, three o’clock!” he shouted.
            “Earthlings?” Kyle asked, and got his answer.
            Two massive beings shot across the sky in front of them, soaring toward the three moving vehicles. Kyle’s aura flared.     
            “I’ll move them away, you make sure that everyone’s okay down with the cars!” Kyle shouted, and blasted off, picking up speed fast while he dropped through the sky.
            Before he could catch up, something crashed across his chest. Kyle went spinning, but loosed an energy ball back at the falling two. He caught one, sending it spiraling toward the ground and forming a rut. The other, though, managed to land atop the moving truck, and let out a piercing shriek. Kyle grimaced at the sound of it.
            The one that attacked moved across the sky again. Kyle focused on it while he avoided its swipe. It was a feral monster, foaming from a mouth that had three rows of razor-sharp teeth. It had three arms: two on its right and three on its left, and was hairy as a bear. The beast retained flight and Kyle flipped away from it. No, wait, he did recognize this thing. It was an off-shoot of an Aberrant, the monsters that attacked he and Brenda their first night on a mission together.          
            Kyle nodded. This was where Boomer got his designs for the damned things. The Aberrant attacked Kyle, assaulting Kyle with vicious swings and swipes. Kyle kneed it in the gut and then punched it toward the ground. It hit the land with a shockwave.
            He looked back. The cars were still moving. Riko was contending with the other, a beast of the same size but one that seemed far more intelligent. It wasn’t Gargador, but from this distance and from what Kyle could tell, it could have the power of a Demi-War God. Kyle filled his aura with energy, then lanced across the sky toward the alien creature atop the truck, who just ripped the metal top free.
            Still holding the metal, it spun around and crashed it against Kyle’s body. Kyle stopped completely and hit the ground, trying to catch himself in a tumble but didn’t have the dexterity to do so. Instead he rolled and rolled, but didn’t come to a complete stop.
            Kyle felt an arm wrap around his head, though, and then fling him forward and slam him. Kyle grunted and the beast didn’t let go. Kyle contorted and flared his aura, managing to get he beast momentarily away from him. He filled his hand with energy, but was punched in the face before he could loose any of it. He flew back, slamming into the moving truck.       
            “Blue Nexus!” someone exclaimed, but Kyle didn’t have the time to acknowledge who it was properly.
            Both the beast fighting Kyle and the one atop the truck leapt in and attacked anything it saw. Kyle kicked the one that he was fighting, the Aberrant, out of the truck and then slammed the other onto the truck floor. It wasn’t an Aberrant, it was just a giant, grey, bald humanoid. It roared in his face, spewing saliva on Kyle’s face. Kyle threw him out the backdoor, too.
            The Goliath managed to catch itself in flight and then burst back. Kyle kicked him up and then batted him away. The Aberrant sprinted with incredible speed and was back in the truck in an instant. In that same instant, though, the Delta Squad moved into glorious action.
            All five leapt free of where they were in the truck and were on the ground, their feet ablaze, and were practically skating across the way toward the Aberrant. The Aberrant roared its battle cry. The ice-fire user of the Delta Squad immediately doused it in flames while the speedsters dashed across, pummeling it twice to knock it off its feet. The Delta Squad’s own brute then took to the air and kicked the Aberrant across the face before the leader came around and slammed the Aberrant to the ground, shoving it into the ground.
            Kyle fist-pumped but took a wallop from being as the Goliath charged at him. Kyle ducked under its first two punches, then hit it back with clearly more force than it’d been anticipating. Kyle managed to catch it by the arm and fling it to the ground. It crashed to the ground, forming a crater.
            The car disappeared into the distance, with Riko following it as he left his prey for Kyle. The other creature, another Goliath, landed behind Kyle, seething, as blood poured down its face. Kyle hesitated, watching the first, and then heard movement behind him.
            He flipped back, clasping the back of the first’s head, and then let loose a pulse of energy that sent that one flipping into Kyle’s Goliath. The two crashed heads. Kyle released energy that arced across the sky both left and right before curving in and slamming both of them. Kyle roared and swung his hand down, and the sheer tonnage of the force stunned both of them.
            The crater deepened. Kyle dropped inside of it, wiping some blood from his mouth. He shook off some of the pain he felt.        
            “Did Cata send you?” Kyle asked the one Goliath who was gripping consciousness. “Who is your master?”
            The Goliath smiled and spat at Kyle, but missed. “Cata…always…watching…”
            His eyes rolled back and his body went limp. Kyle checked for a pulse along his thick neck. The body twitched once and then went limp again, this time with no pulse. Kyle glanced over his shoulder, and there was nothing there, either. He sighed.
            “Great,” Kyle muttered. “Just great.”

            The news was all over the attacks, and the Delta Squadron had been painted the heroes later that day. Mr. Mercer took responsibility for the plan to split the two trucks, knowing that the right one, with the ace team, would attract the attention of outside forces, but it was “never anticipated that they would be alien in nature.”
            Kyle, still in his Blue Nexus attire, crossed his arms and turned toward a fresh, clean-shaven Boomer, who also stood and watched the TV. He had his hand to his mouth, shaking his head at the lies that were being spread. Kyle really wondered if he minded that much. If the Delta Squad took credit then so what? The Zanderia would still answer the call if a massive threat like that happened again; hell, they would’ve just been teleported to this event anyway if Riko didn’t want to boost security.
            The Zanderia wasn’t being metioned at all, though, for the attack. They were given no credit or anything. That part kind of bugged Kyle.
            “How much did the Delta Squad actually do?” Boomer asked.
            Kyle turned to face him. “They took down the Aberrant.”
            Boomer nodded. He still stared at the TV. Kyle quickly surveyed his surroundings, as he had when he initially arrived after Boomer was all settled and he was given the go-ahead by Riko to visit. It was a single story house in the middle of nowhere. There was an office for Boomer to work and research in with cables running into a direct network monitored by the FBI. The TV was an older one but it fit his needs, and the fridge was stocked within just a few hours. Simple furniture, paint styles, and decorations. There wasn’t even a car out front to give the illusion of someone living there.
            “Everything seemed to happen so suddenly today,” Boomer said. “Just this morning I was still in the Cube.”
            “Now you’re on your way to being a free man,” Kyle said.
            “Thank you,” Boomer said. “Truly. I know there’s a long way to go, but, I do feel better. Much better than I have in a long time.” He sighed. “I wonder what Luna would think of all of this.”
            Kyle smiled. He saw her, cold, undead, standing in the moonlight, brought back by Rafael’s powers. Boomer had no idea that his partner had been back, and was back on the side he fought against.
            “I think she’d be proud,” Kyle said. “And happy for you.”
            Kyle hadn’t even told Boomer that he saw her in the Nether, that she was the one who gave up her soul for his. Kyle felt an aching in his chest, a yearning. Tell him. He pursed his lips and took a step away, then stopped.  
            “Yes, I know they were servants of Cata,” Boomer muttered. “She wants to kill me, no doubt. And yes, I know, this isn’t as safe a place for me if that’s the case. The Cube was better for me.”
            “We can know within seconds if Cata’s agents attack again,” Kyle said. “We’ll let them know that Blue Nexus is with you.”
            “I’m afraid that may put all of Earth in danger,” Boomer said. “You’d do all that for me, Blue Nexus?”
            “I’m a superhero, aren’t I?” Kyle asked, with a little sneer.
            Boomer shook his head, chuckling. “And to think, I wanted your power so bad. I never deserved it.”
            “You deserve this,” Kyle said. “A second chance.”
            “Perhaps,” Boomer said, with a sigh. “Perhaps.”
            Kyle looked back to the TV. Mr. Mercer was still talking. “I’m not sure I hate them as much as I used to, you know. They did stand up and fight the second they were needed, it’s not like their egos are as big as they were.”
            “I think learning that they were being manipulated by two egomaniacs probably woke them up a bit,” Boomer said.
            “Maybe,” Kyle said. He grinned and continued stepping toward the door. “Hope you like the new digs. Place seems super chill.”
            “I think it shall be,” Boomer said. “Thank you again, Blue Nexus.”
            Kyle opened the door. He heard the buzzing of a drone nearby, and a thought crossed his mind. A small bit of energy filled his hand, just enough to destroy it. He nodded.

            “Of course,” he said, and shut the door, then took off, flying close enough to the drone to knock it off its course, but not enough to destroy it. “Of course,” he repeated, and blasted once more to the southeast, headed back home for Adelita. 

Next time: Kyle meets an incredibly familiar face that shows him a new side of life in "Blue Nexus #80: Practice Makes Paranormal"! 

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