Monday, June 8, 2020

Hero De Jure - Chapter 2

Aisha grabbed the receiver from her phone set, hit the button beside the flashing light, and leaned back in her chair. “Hi, Nella! What can I do for you?”

“Is Winters & Franklin going to issue a statement about Ultramegaperson’s arrest?” the producer blurted.

Shock ran through Aisha. She concentrated a bit. With her enhanced hearing, she could tell Harri was on the phone with their client. Part of her had been upset to know what she thought had been HRSP, as hormone-related superpowers was known colloquially, wasn’t going away after her son Mitch’s birth. But sometimes, her new abilities came in handy.

“We can’t comment on the alleged arrest at this time,” Aisha said. “Not until we have a chance to talk to our client.”

“You didn’t know, did you?” Nella accused.

“Sorry, Nella, you know I can’t officially answer that.”

“But off the record?” the producer prompted.

“Would you want me telling your secrets?”

“Come on, Aisha.” Nella’s tone was somewhere between wheedling and threatening. “You don’t want other people controlling your client’s story.”

Aisha rolled her eyes even though Nella couldn’t see the expression. “Is that your way of saying you’re going to sic Ted on us if I don’t say something now?” Ted Meadowfield, Essie’s co-anchor, would literally sell his own mother for ratings. Especially after he lost out on a chance at an on-air reporting job at CBS. Calling the president of the news division’s wife a bitch he’d like to tap in front of said president hadn’t won him any admirers.

And Ted hated Harri with a passion matched only by the members of Corvus, a black-ops group who had been illegally recruiting supers.

“It’ll be harder for me to keep Ted on a leash if you don’t give Essie something to use,” Nella said.

“Blackmailer.” Aisha knew there was a symbiotic relationship between the news makers and the news reporters. It didn’t mean she liked it. She considered what spin to use. “We just received the official notice a few minutes before you called. I haven’t talked with the San Francisco D.A.’s office or the Justice Department yet to find out the specific charges.”

Well, that part was technically true. Aisha glanced at her computer screen for the current time. “Give me until three. Essie will have an exclusive statement for tonight’s prime time broadcast.”

“Deal!” Nella’s voice was a little too gleeful. “But if you’re a minute late, I’m going to have to run with what Ted learned.”

Aisha’s heart pounded. “What are you talking about?”

“Maybe you should talk to your client first.” Nella’s switch to reluctance set off alarms in Aisha’s brain.

“I’m not going to hang a client out to dry if you’re planning to boil them anyway,” Aisha bit out. “Spill.”

“The governor of California and his security team were on the Golden Gate when it was hit.”

Aisha fell back in her chair and struggled to breath. “Is this confirmed?”

“Yeah,” Nella said softly. “The web cameras on the bridge caught the governor’s cortege falling. Our direct source has a close-up from a personal drone camera.”

“May I please have a copy of the drone footage?”

The news producer hesitated a moment. “Our source didn’t want to be named.”

“I understand wanting to protect your sources, Nella,” Aisha said gently. “But this source may have information as to who’s really at fault here.”

“You sure you’re not just covering your bottom line?”

“Frankly, that would be a certain partner’s chief concern, but I left Dewey & Cheatham because they didn’t give a rat’s ass about the people underneath the masks or the civilians caught in the crossfire in these battles.” Aisha waited a beat before she added, “Whoever was behind the Golden Gate Bridge incident needs to pay for what they’ve done.”

“All right,” Nella finally said. “But you don’t get the footage until I get a statement.”

“Agreed. Thanks for telling me about the video.” Aisha swallowed hard. “I’ll talk to you before three.” She tapped the button to end the call and buried her face in her hands.

Oh, god. Ultramegaperson was so fucked.

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