Here's the first chapter from the latest 888-555-HERO adventure! Hero De Jure will be release June 15th!
Patty Ames’s shriek proceeded her bursting through Harri Winters’ office door, her blond curls bouncing in her wake. “You’ve got to see this!” She rushed to Harri’s second hand maple desk and grabbed the TV remote, her pale face even whiter than usual.
The Action 12! News logo flashed in the bottom right corner of the supersize screen hanging on the wall opposite from Harri’s desk. But it wasn’t Canyon Pointe’s skyline in the video.
Instead, a panoramic view of San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge filled the screen. The bridge glowed under the rising sun.
Until a dark blur hit the north end of the city’s famous landmark.
Cables snapped and flailed. Bits and pieces fell, but from the distant perspective, they were probably slabs of pavement and chunks of metal larger than Harri’s ancient Honda. Vehicles tumbled hundreds of feet into the vicious Bay current. Harri covered her mouth with her hand to keep from screaming as well. They were watching innocent commuters plunging to their deaths. Even if every super in California and the surrounding states had been there, they couldn’t have saved everyone.
Aisha, Susan, and Arthur darted into Harri’s office and stared at the TV screen, no doubt their attention drawn by Patty’s shriek.
“…current death toll is unknown. The damage to the San Francisco icon allegedly happened during a battle between Ultramegaperson and Doctor Liquidation that started at the San Francisco Federal Reserve.” The camera shot switched to Action 12!’s evening co-anchor Essie Morales in the studio. This level of carnage required someone with poise, which Essie had in spades.
The analytical part of Harri wondered if Essie had beaten her co-anchor Ted Meadowfield to the studio, or if their producer Nella Lopez hadn’t bothered to call him this morning. Ted never quite grasped the necessity of simply being polite to your co-workers.
Essie’s concerned-journalist expression was firmly fixed on her beautiful face. “Ultramegaperson is assisting the Coast Guard in rescue efforts. Guy Montana, spokesman for the National Superhero Bureau, says a thorough investigation will be undertaken once all victims have been retrieved.
“In other news, the Dow Jones—”
“Victims retrieved” was reporter-speak the body recovery for an obscene number of deaths.
Patty hit the mute button and set the remote back on Harri’s desk. “You want me to call them.”
Harri wearily shook her head at Patty’s reference to the NSB. “No. Ultramegaperson will call us when they’re able. No comment until we decide how we need to spin this.”
The law firm’s assistant nodded. Before she could take a step, the phone lines at her desk out in the reception area started buzzing. Patty rolled her eyes.
“What a way to start a Monday morning.” She strode out of Harri’s office.
“On it. I’ll see what I can retrieve.” Arthur Drallhickey, the firm’s head of IT and a reformed supervillain himself, charged out the office door. If anyone could dig through the bureaucratic bullshit and learn the truth, it was him. Harri ignored the fact that some of his techniques weren’t exactly ethical. Or legal. But they needed as much information as they could get about the incident, especially since one of their top clients was involved in this mess.
“You two have any bright ideas?” Harri leaned her right elbow on the desktop, set her chin on her palm, and stared at her legal partners.
Aisha Franklin shook her head. Her hair no longer flipped all over the place. She had their closest friend Jeremy slice off her dreads not long after she delivered her first-born. Baby Mitch had a tendency to yank on them.
Hard enough she feared baldness. However, she pulled off the super-short, henna’d afro Jeremy had styled.
“We need more information first.” Aisha gestured toward the TV screen which was replaying the top news story after Essie’s brief update on other headlines. “What hit the bridge?”
“Considering its size, it wasn’t a person.” Susan Kennedy pushed a lock of her red hair behind her ear while she watched the replay closely. Harri had hired their former law school classmate nearly a year ago to cover for Aisha during maternity leave. Susan had an excellent legal mind, a ton of trial experience, and was pretty damn patient considering the chaos Harri and Aisha’s personal lives had been during the initial months Susan was with them.
Out in the reception area, Harri could hear Patty repeating, “No comment,” like it was a Buddhist mantra.
Aisha stalked over to the office door and closed it. “Now’s when I really wish I could drink coffee again.”
“Wean Mitch early.” Harri grinned at her partner.
“Your godson’s only four months old.” Aisha gave her a dirty look. “He’s not even eating solids yet.”
“But is he flying yet?” Harri continued to tease.
If Aisha had laser vision in her superpower arsenal, Harri would have been a crispy critter.
“When you two are finished bickering—” Susan started to say, but Harri’s intercom buzzed, interrupting her.
Patty wouldn’t interrupt them unless this was super important.
Harri poked the appropriate button on her phone set. “Yes?”
“Nella is on line one,” Patty chirped.
“I’ll handle Nella. Transfer her to my office, Patty.” Aisha strode toward the office door. “Find out what hit Golden Gate, and you’d better hope it wasn’t something our client actually did.” She left, closing the door once again.
No doubt Nella Lopez, Action 12! News’s senior producer, was hoping to finagle an exclusive out of Aisha. Harri would be the first to admit her best friend was better at handling the publicity side of their boutique clientele.
“She’s right.” Susan snatched the remote and thumbed the slow-motion button as Action 12! News began to replay their film of the morning’s incident for the fourth time.
Ultramegaperson could be the biggest twat waffle on the planet, but they had come through when Aisha needed some help last Christmas. And the fees from the trans superhero alone kept the firm afloat this year.
That money was a godsend. Aisha wanted a careful well-thought-out plan to introduce hers and her husband Rey Garcia’s new superhero identities. She also wanted to shed the baby weight before she squeezed into spandex again.
The rush job they’d done with Rey’s first persona, Captain Justice, had blown up in their faces thanks to the supervillain Professor Paranoia. The saving grace was they knew Paranoia was roasting in a top security prison in Japan.
The intercom buzzed again, and Harri tapped the button. “Yeah, Patty?”
“Ultramegaperson is on line two.”
Harri hit the speaker function. “Hey, Ultra! Susan’s here with me. What do you need?”
“Um, Harri,” the superhero said hesitantly. “I’m under arrest.”