Weeks later, when Julie had collected enough clips, Ellen assisted her in setting up the collage.
"Kyle, I need you to patch this together and submit it to me before giving it to the news report coordinator." Julie said.
Ellen sat back in the chair. "So. You're done."
Ellen took Julie's soda and took a drink.
"I got promoted."
"Really? To what?"
"Supervisor. My hours are more stable."
"Heck yeah! Good job!" Julie said.
"Not really. All I get is a desk and a chair." Ellen laughed. "I might quit the job, though."
"I got offered another job downtown."
"Downtown. Who's going to give me my intel?"
"I don't know. I'm not sure the transportation fee will really let me get more money."
"Give me the numbers and I'll calculate it for you." Julie said. "I could hire you as a secretary."
"Heck no. I don't want a desk job." Ellen said.
"Then...go get a job like Whiplash, they don't file reports or crap."
"If I became a superhero like Whiplash, I would still need a job." Ellen said.
"So, I'm gonna go find something to eat-"
"I'll come, I'm starving."
"All right." Julie packed her notebook and pen away.
Ellen and Julie stopped at McDonald's, with Ellen getting a small hamburger and tea for two dollars.
"You never cease to amaze me at the amount of money you spend to survive."
"Well..." Ellen took a bit from her hamburger. "I don't need a lot."
"You don't look it. Hell, you could be Whiplash for all we know. You fit the description." Julie laughed. "I'm just kidding."
Ellen laughed. "Right. And you're a news anchor."
"I'm closer to being a news anchor than you are to being Whiplash."
"Snap, I gotta go. See ya."
Just like that, Ellen was gone.
Whiplash elbowed the burglar aside and ducked under the thug's swinging chain.
Four punches later, she had the thug pinned against the wall. "Who sent you? You guys are too stupid to coordinate a theft like this."
"Thrush." he growled.
Whiplash spun around, and flipped him onto his back, cuffing him to a pole.
Her watch beeped.
Thirty minutes until "work" was off.
Whiplash jumped over a railing and ran off. She needed to look up Thrush. If she took him down, then the city's crime might drop.
Whiplash did a parkour climb into her apartment window from the alley.
She took off her uniform and stowed it away carefully.
Getting on her computer, she encrypted the IP and began the search.
Her phone rang.
"Hello?" she asked in a whispered voice.
"Ellen! I need help, I screwed up, really badly. Can you meet me at the park?" Julie asked frantically.
"All right, but it's gonna be a while."
Ellen grabbed her door keys and pulled on her shoes.
Grabbing her beanie, she ran out the door.
She arrived at the park twenty minutes later.
She saw Julie standing under a cluster of trees.
"Don't talk to her. Turn around."
"What-" Ellen's hands were bound cruelly behind her. "What's going on?" she demanded.
"We're taking you and reporter girl here hostage."
"Boss wants to meet Whiplash."
"And you two are going to report on it."
Ellen breathed a sigh of relief.
"You agreed to this?" she asked Julie.
She shook her head. "No."
A fist slammed into Ellen's face and quieted her.
"Okay, on the count of three, we break for the trees. One wrong move, you die."
Ellen and Julie were shoved into a van.
Ellen tapped her foot.
Julie leaned against her tiredly. "We've been here six hours, someone's had to have noticed our absence."
"But what could they do about it?"
Julie shrugged. "How are they going to get Whiplash here? It took me forever to find Whiplash and meet them face to face."
"It should be easier for criminals, if you think about it."
Ellen watched the men crowd around a computer, watching football.
A well-dressed man entered and they scrambled for cover.
"Bring the girls. Set up for Whiplash. Prepare the chair."
Ellen frowned as the men grabbed them and set them down across from a chair that had many ways to secure someone.
"Which one of you is the cameraman?" he asked.
Julie looked at Ellen.
"Me." she said.
"All right. Come here." They cut the ropes and set the camera on her shoulder.
Julie gulped as she eyed the chair.
Hours later, Thrush shook his head. "I don't understand it! They delivered the message! Where is she?"
"Maybe she's...not coming?"
"You. Where do you get your sources?" he asked Julie.
Julie pointed at Ellen.
"How do you know where she was?"
"I have connections." Ellen said.
"Well, use these connections and tell Whiplash to come here!" he growled.
Ellen put the camera down and ran off.
She darted straight home and got into her suit.
As she ran back towards the warehouse, she saw a group of men trying to stuff a woman into a van.
She intervened, blocking punches and sending a few of her own.
"Behind you!" the woman said.
Whiplash turned. Nothing.
A chain came down around her neck and pulled backward.
Grabbing the chain with one hand, she elbowed the thug three times in the face. She flipped them over and freed herself from the chain.
A knife flashed.
Whiplash caught their wrist and kneed them in the gut.
The thug ducked as something heavy slammed into her back.
Whiplash slammed into the wall, dazed.
Laughing, the thugs surrounded her.
They pressed her down on her back and pinned her four limbs.
"Three to take you down. Amusing."
"You'll need more than that!" Whiplash shifted her arms and managed to free one. Two swings and she knocked the other two thugs down.
Jackknifing to her feet, she cuffed them to a pole and nodded at her work.
"Who sent you?" she growled.
He laughed. "You'll find out soon enough."
A shock went through her body and she collapsed, stunned.
"Nice shot." the thug told the woman.
The woman cut through the cuffs with a pair of cutters.
They bound Whiplash's wrists and ankles and shoved her into the van.
Julie gave a cry when she saw Whiplash dragged in along the ground.
"Sir, as you ordered. It worked."
"Of course it worked! I planned it."
They set Whiplash in the chair and tightened all of the restraints. All of them.
"Is she awake?"
"No, sir, we had to tase her."
They waved it under Whiplash's nose and she sat up.
"What is this?" she demanded.
"Whiplash, you've caused me much pain." Thrush said.
"You're Thrush, huh? I'd expected someone taller."
"Write this down, Riche." Thrush said.
Whiplash struggled against the restraints. "So, you got me. What do you want, a medal?"
"More like a trophy." he said.
"Well, I don't have one-"
"Oh, yes you do." he tapped her mask. "If I eliminate you...well, let's just say the city's mine.
Julie glanced up.
"Leave us!" Thrush said.
The thugs filed from the room, leaving Thrush alone with Whiplash and Julie.
"What happens if I take your mask? Oh, your career masquerading as Whiplash would be over. If Ms. Riche prints her article, you'd have a lot of people coming after your head. You won't survive the night." he sneered into her face.
Julie saw Whiplash twitch.
"I'll do it now." he placed his hands on Whiplash's helmet.
As soon as he tugged it off, Whiplash launched out of the chair and tackled him.
In a flash, she had him shoved in the chair and restraining him.
Julie dropped her notepad. "Ellen?"
Ellen pulled her helmet on quickly.
"This whole time! You were Whiplash!" she shouted. "How could you?"
"Julie, if I told you, it'd be all over."
"I can't report on my best friend! What am I supposed to do?!"
"That's up to you to decide." Ellen said, turning to Thrush. "What am I going to do with you?"
"FIRE!" He shouted.
Ellen tackled Julie as bullet holes ripped through the walls.
Ellen looked up.
Thrush was dead, having been shot through the chest.
"C'mon." Ellen and Julie sprinted from the warehouse. Julie stood on the dock, staring at the bay.
She stared at the notebook in her hands. It had all the information needed to destroy Ellen's career, but Julie was uncertain as to what to do.
She felt betrayed. Betrayed by Ellen, who didn't trust her with the truth.
Ellen approached her slowly.
"Julie." Ellen stood next to her. "Look, I'm sorry. I'm sorry for not telling you, but, frankly, I couldn't tell anyone. That would have jeopardized my life, and anyone I told."
Ellen paused. "I don't care if you publish the article...I just want you to know I'm sorry." Ellen turned to go.
Julie stared at the ocean.
With a sigh, she put her lighter to the notebook and flung it out to sea