Just Cause: Revised & Expanded Edition

Just Cause: Revised & Expanded Edition by Ian Thomas Healy Read Free Book Online

Book: Just Cause: Revised & Expanded Edition by Ian Thomas Healy Read Free Book Online
Authors: Ian Thomas Healy
damage from the fight between Destroyer and the Lucky Seven in the Convention Center in Chicago. She’d never given any thought about the aftermath until now. She wondered how many millions of dollars in damage their battle had cost. “What about private teams?”
    “I don’t know. They probably have to have some kind of liability insurance, but I’m no expert on it. You should ask Juice if you’re really curious.”
    Sally shrugged. “I’m not, really. I was just wondering.”
    Jason introduced her to the technicians who monitored the training room’s transformation and asked how long it would take to complete. They told him it should be ready to go within seventy-two hours.
    “I like to try and find out,” said Jason. “If Juice doesn’t schedule a training session, it means we’re going to have an emergency drill coming up and I don’t want to go in completely blind.”
    “Doesn’t that kind of defeat the purpose of the drill?”
    He paused as he considered her statement. “Well, yeah, I guess so. But I promise you, we all do it. There’s no such thing as too much information when you’re going to have your butt on the line.”
    He showed her the other areas on the training floor: the emergency medical room, the weight room, which had machines for both normal and enhanced-strength team members. “How much can you lift?” Sally asked.
    Jason shrugged. “About four tons on a good day.”
    They returned to the surface. The pale winter sun hung low over the mountains to the west. A cold wind blew across the quadrangle. Sally shivered and her teeth started to chatter when Jason opened the door.
    “Yuck,” he said. “We’ll take the tunnel. I don’t really feel it or anything, but I hate cold weather.”
    “Me too,” said Sally. “I’m from Arizona. I’m at my best when it’s really hot.”
    “I know what you mean,” said Jason. “I’m a Georgia boy myself. Nice place if you don’t mind a little humidity. Do you want to go get a hot chocolate or something from the cafeteria?”
    Sally’s heart fluttered. Now that the tour was over, he seemed much less confident and more human, more approachable. “That sounds great.”
    As they strolled down the underground tunnel toward the cafeteria, their phones beeped to announce incoming text messages. They each pulled them out to look.
    Dinner tonight in Main Conference Room. Full Dress. 1900 hrs. Juice.
    “What’s that mean?” Sally asked as Jason held open the cafeteria door for her.
    “He’s probably going to introduce you to everyone. Full Dress means in costume. We don’t normally dress out here in headquarters unless there’s a tour coming through or something.” Sally caught Jason’s eyes wandering up and down her slight figure.
    His attention made her feel odd, like she understood at last what people meant by butterflies in one’s stomach . She wished he wouldn’t stare, but she also wished she had more of a figure to show off to him. If anyone in the past had ever looked at her that way, she’d never noticed. She was too busy studying and training at the Academy to pay much attention to the socializing that went on between the students. She knew she wasn’t any good at it, which felt every bit as humiliating in its own way as it had been to lose Destroyer. She felt her ears burn. “How about that hot chocolate?”

Chapter Five
    “A costume is more than just eye candy. It’s a statement, an image, a brand. A costume can inspire self-confidence or fear in an opponent. Why wear them at all when they make you into a target? You might as well ask a Hollywood starlet why she wears expensive fashions and designer jewelry. It’s because parahumans crave the attention. It’s because we are actors as much as anyone you see in a movie. The only difference is that our roles are in real life and we don’t have stunt doubles.”
    -Gloria Echevarria aka Sundancer, Playboy , February, 1976
    January, 2004

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