My lungs were on fire. I wasn't sure if it was because I was drowning or because Drake had ruptured something important inside my body. It was probably a combination of both. My entire torso was just a burning flare of pain and I wasn't able to locate the specific source. Everything just hurt.
I was dizzy and disoriented. I think I had let out a large burst of electricity when I had hit the water because I had lost consciousness for a moment. What would happen if I did die? Could lightning revive me from drowning? Or would it like completely fry my body due to the conductivity of it all? Gross.
Had I hurt Drake? He was immune to my electricity but if I had let out a strong electrical burst in the water, that might have been strong enough to effect him. Yeah, he was the King of All Pricks but I wasn't about to let him drown. I didn't see him anywhere. I couldn't see very far in front of me in the murky water though. He could still be down here.
Damn, it was cold. I forced myself to move towards the light. I reached out for the surface only to slam into the sunken boards of the dock. I had drifted further under the dock while I was unconscious and away from wherever the hole I had fallen into was. I pressed up hard against the boards and managed to gasp out some air between the wooden planks. I dove back down into the murky water and towards the end of the dock. I would just swim around it and into the open river.
I let out a gargled sound of frustration as I swam into a rusted chain-link fence. From what I could see it went all the way around the dock, separating it from the river. Who designed this?! What the actual hell was the purpose of this?!
I pushed off from the fence back under the dock. I caught sight of something glimmering in the water, it was a broken bottle or something but now I could see where the hole in the dock was. My lungs were screaming as I swam up through the dock and breathed in the sweet air.
"Allegra!" Liberty Girl called out to me. She had emerged from the fallen building and was heading towards me with a slight limp. She looked exhausted and half her cape was missing.
I grabbed onto the edge of the broken platform and started to pull myself up. I let out a sharp scream as I felt someone grab me roughly by the back of my hair and yanked me away from the dock.
"Why won't you just fucking die?!" Drake growled in my ear as he shoved me down under the water. I kicked and struggled as he held me under. I could see that he was using the edge of the dock as leverage for himself to keep me under the water. I dug my nails as hard as I could into his arms to try and get him to let up on his grip. He was either doing a really good job at ignoring it or was too deranged at the moment to notice.
Real fear gripped me as I realized that I was going to drown. He was really going to go through with this. Okay, sure he had killed other people and had set me up to be killed earlier, but he had done it all in a cowardly indirect way. This was a lot more personal. He was going to hold me under and watch me die right in front of him. He was apparently perfectly okay with that. The Drake that I had thought I knew didn't exist. The Drake that had watched movies with me and played stupid games with me at the academy was just a mask for him. He was a cold blooded killer and only cared about himself. I don't know why stuff like this still surprises or hurts me.
My vision was starting to blacken and my limbs felt heavy as I could feel myself fading. This is it. This is how I die. Despite surviving being burned to death, having my chest tore open and falling off a skyscraper; this was how I was going to die; at the hands of someone I had once considered one of my best friends. Balls.
I regretted a lot of things in my life; the drugs, the stealing, manipulative things I have done to hurt those around me. It's funny though, I didn't regret getting my powers. I used to resent them but, I guess, recently I have learned to accept them more as they have grown. I don't fully understand them but without them I wouldn't be who I am today. I would still be in Idaho in what had apparently been an oppressive religious cult. I wanted more in life then just popping out babies and picketing events supporting Supers. I used to wish I was still human but I don't think I would have found the balance within myself that I have found as a technopath. As a superhero. As a sidekick. Whatever. I guess none of the mattered since I was about to die.
This was seriously taking forever. I wasn't in a hurry to die or anything but my other deaths had been basically instant. This really hurt and left me time to suffer. My lungs were screaming and felt like they were about to explode. Pain was an old friend of mine but this was too much. I saw a bright flash of light as I blacked out.
The world started to glimmer back into place. I could hear a distant panicked voice calling my name and sobbing. I barely felt lips against mine pushing air into me.
"Allegra! Damn it! Don't do this!" Sharron sobbed as slammed her palms up under my ribs.
Sharp realization and clarity hit me as full consciousness struck me across the face like a jaded lover. I rolled over and gagged out the water that had been in my lungs.
"You're alive! I was afraid that..." Sharron let that statement go unfinished as she rubbed my back while I gagged out more polluted river water.
"You know... if you wanted to kiss me... all you had to do was ask..." I croaked out with my burning lungs.
"I should have let you drown..." Sharron gave me a teasing smile and wrapped her arms around me as I sat up. She was a hot mess. Bruises covered her face and arms. Her hair and uniform was soaked with water and she had ripped off the remains of her cape. She must have gone into the river to get me.
"Where is Drake?" I asked her as I laid my head on her shoulder.
She just shook her head. "I...I don't know." She told me quietly. The tone of her voice made me not completely believe her. "I hit him and then pulled you out. He swam off but getting you out was more important."
I looked overhead as several Liberty League choppers flew above us and were circling the river. More officers both Liberty League Security and Liberty Towers Police had arrived on the scene and were scouted the river.
"Okay, seriously, that is gross." I frowned at the giant green slime monster in front me. It looked like a sentiment bowl of lime Jello that was about a story and a half high and seemed to have a taste for public transport. It was currently sucking on the front end of an abandoned bus.
"Whoa..." Liberty Girl pulled up beside me in a Liberty League SUV as I leaned against my motorcycle watching the monster. My motorcycle had recently gotten an annoying stars and stripes make over. I had at least been able to talk my stylist team to keep it a minimalist stars and stripes lightning bolt on the sides of my bike instead of something obnoxious. I had been outvoted when I had requested a pinup girl of myself wearing only an American Flag surrounded by a lightning storm on the side of my bike. Something about it being 'untasteful'.
"You're on your own." I informed her.
She let out an exasperated sigh. "Are you seriously going to threaten to quit again? This is getting pretty old, Star Spangled Girl. Either sign your Liberty League contract or don't. It's been a month. You can't keep holding this above me every time you don't want to do something."
"Uh, no." I held my hands to show off my purple ombre manicure with rhinestone lightning bolts on the nails of my ring fingers. "I just got this done like an hour ago. Blobalicious over there looks kind of acidic. He will def tarnish my mani." I complained. "I haven't even gotten a chance to properly Instagram them yet."
"We really need to talk about your increased sense of vanity later..." Sharron informed me.
"Oh my god! Cute!" Morning Glory appeared beside me. She grabbed my hands and examined my nails. She had actually been with me at the salon but I had left before her when we had gotten the emergency call. "I am so jealous! I wanted unicorn sparkles!" Starla wasn't allowed to get anything above a basic French manicure because of her secret identity.
"Wait. Did Allegra get to name another villain?!" Iron Wing complained as he landed beside us. "Are we really calling that thing 'Bobalicious'?"
"Yes." I replied.
"No." Liberty Girl answered.
"I already tweeted a selfie with it." I stuck my tongue out at her.
"I kinda like it." Morning Glory shrugged.
"Why are you all standing around braiding each other's hair instead of fighting that thing?" Night Ranger demanded sharply as he pulled his sleek black motorcycle up next to mine.
"Allegra just got her nails done." Sharon informed him dryly.
"Really? Let me see."
I held my hands out for him to examine and he roughly slapped the top of my hands.
"Oww!" I yelped.
"Eye contact." He demanded as he gestured with his fingers towards his face in a 'look at me' motion. "Focus and stop screwing around." He demanded once I made eye contact with him.
"Fine. What are we dealing with?" I questioned Flynn as I popped my ear piece into place and pulled out my phone to pull up the stats that he had sent me a few moments ago. I could feel the electric buzz of one of his security drones somewhere above us.
"The Liberty Towers Military Research Base reports that this in an organic based material that simulates life but is only alive at a basic molecule level. It was being developed to retrieve and destroy bombs and chemical weapons." Flynn explained. "An unforeseen side effect is that the mass grows when exposed to radiation. It was the size of a baseball this morning. It will continue to exponentially grow as it consumes radiation. The government is being close lipped on this, as they tend to do when they fuck up... " Flynn muttered with annoyance.
"Flynn..." Liberty Girl warned.
"Anyway, there is no way of knowing how much radiation is inside of that thing so do not touch it with your bare skin. The city block has been evacuated and the military has a containment team waiting to sweep in once you get a hold on the situation." He told us.
"So why are we cleaning up the goverment's messes?" I questioned.
"Welcome to the Liberty League, Kid." Night Ranger rolled his eyes.
"Yeah, once she signs her contracts..." Liberty Girl sighed.
Night Ranger shot me an alarmed look. "You haven't told her yet?!" He demanded.
I just shrugged. "It's not a sure thing yet."
"You made negotiations and signed the papers! It's pretty damn final!" Night Ranger informed me.
Liberty Girl looked like she had a headache. "...you already signed your Liberty League contract, didn't you?"
"Yeah, your bastard uncle cornered me like a week ago." I informed her.
"Bastard Uncle here." Bayonet's crisply spoke over our headsets. "Less chit chat and more securing the giant monster destroying public property... And Star Spangled Girl? I would like to see you in my office after this to discuss your attitude."
"It's a date..." I muttered back.
Night Ranger muttered something under his breath that sounded like a very colorful curse. Liberty Girl looked like she had just bitten into a lemon. Iron Wing and Morning Glory guiltily focused on their shoes. No one was happy about the new leadership situation.
"I am sorry..." I told Sharron softly as I mentally muted our headsets so Headquarters couldn't hear. I think I had told her the same thing several times already this week. It didn't make it any less true. I just didn't know what to tell her to make her feel better. Her whole world had fallen apart. Her brother had tried to murder her, Liberty Towers had been partially destroyed and her father had lost his standing in the city. She now had to answer to the new director of the Liberty League, her uncle, Bayonet. He had just started about two weeks ago. I don't know a whole lot about him except that he was Sharron's mother's brother and he had been a part of the Liberty League out in Seattle before retiring from active duty and taking a seat on the Liberty League Council. Also he was dick.
The past month had been hard on all of us but it had been especially hard on Sharron. The media had scorched the Liberty League in regards to Drake's betrayal. There had been a lot of discussion on the toxicity of 'privilege' and the entitlement that being a part of the Liberty League had brought. This didn't do anything to help ease the people already fearful of Supers. If someone that was groomed since birth to be a hero for the Liberty League could be corrupted by power-lust, what was to stop any other Super from following the same path? What was to stop Sharron from following her brother's shoes or what was to stop me from returning to the Syndicate?
It also didn't help that Drake was still on the loose. He had ripped through the fencing under the docks and disappeared somewhere down the river. Some people speculated that he was dead but even more troubling were the conspiracy theories floating around that the League had 'let' him escape.
Mr Liberty had taken most of the criticism head-on. He had chosen to step down as the leader of the Liberty League with the pressure of the public, Liberty League Council and his own guilt. I was actually pretty pissed about the whole thing. He had done nothing wrong but he was the one taking the fall for Drake being a complete asshole.
He was still around and helping with the media and the transition of power but he was no longer the active director of the Liberty League. He was currently acting as a consultant. Once he felt the situation was as under control as he could get it, he was going to retire to the Amazon to be with Sharron's mother at the research base she worked in doing whatever it is that she does with her plant related powers. Sharron rarely spoke about her mother, for some reason, but Drake mentioned to me once that their mother has a very hard time being around people and being in places where the earth is 'dead'. I had burst into the Pocahontas song and at first I thought Drake was offended but then he had sung it along with me. Ugh. Happy memories with Drake made my blood boil. I eyed the living booger that had pretty much finished off his bus snack, I needed to hit something.
"What did he offer you?" She demanded. "What did Bayonet give you that made you decide to stay instead of running away to Fiji?"
"The League is paying for me to finish school, I am getting a car, and I am getting a raise. I also have final say on any endorsement deals concerning me or my alter-egos." I told her. "I do have to do a lot more training regarding my ability to fly and my fighting skills." I rolled my eyes. " I am sorry. I should have told you. I just..." I shrugged. "I wanted to sit down and have an adult conversation about this but with moving into the new temporary headquarters downtown and the freaking media circus and the damn protesters; it just never seemed like a good time."
Sharron just nodded. "I wish you had told me so I wouldn't have been worrying about you getting on a train and just leaving on a whim but I am glad that you have decided to stay and I am actually really happy that you are going back to school. That's something that you've been wanting to do." She gave the first hint of a genuine smile that I have seen in days.
"This is a really important bonding moment for us all but.. slime monster?" Falcon questioned. He was currently having a competition with Starla to see who could bounce the most loose change into it. Starla was currently winning. From what I have heard about her fancy Ivy League college and grad school experience, it had mostly just made her really good at drinking games.
"Can you and Morning Glory contain it if I make it explode?" I questioned.
"Explode? Can you think of something less messy?" Sharron frowned.
"Yes! Exploding slime monster!" Morning Glory hadn't waited for Liberty Girl to reply before running around the monster at high speeds. The non-Newtonian liquid texture of the slime began to take a longer cone-like appearance as the force of Starla's speed tornado pressed against it.
I had been intending to strike the bus with lightning but I had screwed around too long and it had mostly been dissolved by the acidity of whatever the mysterious government project was made out of. A broken street lamp caught my eye. "Hey Ranger, can you do me a favor and launch that broken lamp into Blobalicious?"
"That name isn't going to stick." Night Ranger informed me as he ripped the broken lamp out of the ground and hurled it into the blob like a javelin to make it through the tornado. It stuck into the blob perfectly with enough room for me to strike it with lightning. I needed to hurry though before the post started to dissolve as well.
"Awesome. If you could throw whatever random metal debris you can find into it, that will help with making it more conductible and more likely to explode" I told him.
For once he didn't argue with me and just nodded in agreement as he tossed a manhole cover into the monster. He also tossed a mailbox and a couple of steel trash cans into it.
"Iron Wing, can you give me a boost to get above the tornado?"
"You really need to learn how to properly fly." He informed me as he grabbed me around the waist and pulled me up into the air.
"I need to get a running start and it's like a whole thing." I complained as we got above the tornado. Ranger was still tossing things into the blob and Liberty Girl was nearby, light flickering in her hands, ready to contain the explosion.
"Have you tried flying since your power boost you got from your immortality?" He questioned.
"Um..." No. I hadn't. It had been really difficult before so I had only used it as an escape method but now... maybe I could actually fly. "We will try that out later. Want to help me train?"
"Absolutely." He grinned. "It would be nice having someone to fly with."
"This might tingle but I promise not to zap you. Please don't drop me into that demented Jello." I commanded as I let my hands fill up electricity. I hit the slime ball with burst of electricity at the lamp post. The slime began to sizzle.
"It's working!" Falcon exclaimed in my ear. He actually sounded surprised.
"It's not enough." Flynn informed me over my head piece. "You need to put more power into it."
I could feel power-lines buzzing nearby. "I am about to do something stupid..." I warned Falcon. "Don't let go."
I mentally pulled into the power-lines behind me, grabbing at the electricity into my mind. I winced a little as the pure power blinded my vision. This wan't what my technopathy was for. I couldn't hold the electricity like this or it could seriously hurt me. I ripped it from the lines and directed into the blob.
"Jesus!" Falcon almost dropped me as a bright bolt of lightning streaked from the power-line into the blob. Sharron barely shielded Blobalicious in a dome of her light energy. She only kept it contained as needed before dropping the shield. I had been hoping that she would realize that her power is slightly radioactive due to the solar base of it. Too much exposure would just power the blob right back up. Currently it looked like someone had just stuck a plate of green Jello in the microwave. It was more melted then solid, which I think was a good thing? I don't specifically know what the material was made out of but the liquid form didn't seem to be able to move on it's own. It was just laying in a puddle.
"What did you just do?!" Bayonet demanded in my ear as Falcon brought me back down to the ground.
"Uh, I just secured Blobablicious and saved the city?" I questioned back.
"You just caused a power outage in the entire Old Town district of Liberty Towers!" He informed me. "And we are not calling that thing Blobalicious!"
"How did you know how to defeat Blobalicious?" A pretty young reporter asked me. A group of them had cornered me once my team had backed out of the now quarantined block to let the shady government extraction team do their thing.
"I like to see things explode." I shrugged. "... And I knew that we could defeat it with teamwork." I added when I seen the look Liberty Girl had given me from where she was talking with Liberty League Security.
"There are rumors that you are still in negotiations with your Liberty League contract. Do you still intend to stay with the League even though the Syndicate is no longer an issue you for you?" She questioned.
"I actually signed my contract about a week ago." I admitted. "Despite the change of leadership and the things Drake put me though, I have decided to stay with the Liberty League. I am going to go back to school and work on myself and I think that the Liberty League is the best place for me to do that at this point in my life." I told her. "Plus with everything that has been happening, I want to be there to support my team. They were there to support me when I needed it most."
"How does your family feel about this?" A bleach blonde male member of the paparazzi shoved a microphone in my face. I watch enough trash TV to recognize him as Mark Taurus. Many high ranking supers and celebrities have a restraining order against him because of his tendency to get up in their faces and yell obscene things at them to get a raise out of them to sell a few magazines or pictures or however he gets paid for his debauchery.
I withheld an eye roll as I shrugged. "We aren't really on speaking terms so I wouldn't know. I have been in contact with one of my brothers recently and he supports me and is actually proud that I am going to be the first woman in our family to graduate from college." From what he has told me, most of my sisters didn't even graduate high school because it 'wasn't important' for them. Just the thought of that made me enraged and disgusted. I tried reaching out to some of them but Anton was the only one that would have anything to do with me. They were either brainwashed or too afraid of my parents to disobey them. Mark looked like he was going to question me more on that but yelped and dropped his microphone as it short circuited.
"Did you just-?!" He accused.
"I need to go check in with my team." I turned my back on the media as I headed back over to where my team was conversing with League Security. I stopped for a moment as I caught a glimpse of someone in the crowd of bystanders. It was a girl wearing a black hoodie with the hood pulled low over her eyes. That was a bit sketchy in a city of heroes and super villains but there wasn't anything particularly ominous about her appearance. Still it brought cold chills down my spine and into my core. I felt this weird sense of Déjà Vu but it was more then that. It was surreal sense that this moment could have gone differently. I shook it off and when I looked up the girl was gone and the weird feeling was just the lingering sensation of nightmare that you can't remember in the morning.
"You okay?" Starla asked as she walked over to my side eating a power bar. "You look like someone just stepped on your grave." Considering that Allegra Austin still had a grave in the Liberty Acres Community Cemetery, I didn't appreciate that comparison.
"Yeah, I just- I don't know, I just had the weirdest feeling of Déjà Vu." I just shrugged.
"Is this the only time?" Starla asked tightly. Her bronze complexion had gone down several shades.
"Yeah... is everything okay?"
"I need to make a phone call." She told me in an uncharacteristically serious tone as she walked away.
"Hey, how's it feel to be a hero?" Iron Wing questioned as he walked over to me. He had just finished signing some autographs to some young girls.
"It's a lot of work." I replied. "Stealing things was easier."
Sharron snorted at that as she joined us. "I didn't make it easy for you."
"Just keep telling yourself, Liberty Loser." I rolled my eyes.
"You do realize that you are a 'Liberty Loser' now, right?" She teased.
"Psh. I am still the cool one. So by the way, has anyone else noticed Morning Glory acting weird today?" I questioned.
"Just today?" Falcon snickered.
Sharron gave him her 'be nice to teammates' scowl. "No. Why?"
"I don't know. I mentioned something about Déjà Vu and she got all 'serious face'." I shrugged.
"Maybe she just doesn't like strip clubs." Falcon replied. "I'll go with you if you want."
"I-...what?" I frowned at him.
"Are we not talking about the same thing? Déjà Vu is a strip club, right?" He looked uncertain now.
"Yeah, I know. I am on my way, Madame President. I need to make a couple of arrangements first." Starla spoke hurriedly into her phone as she appeared beside us in a blur of motion.
"...Madame President?" Sharron frowned and looked to me. I just shrugged. I highly doubted it was the president of the United States. I mean, if she knew the president she probably wouldn't be out here playing local superhero. Does NASA have a president?
Starla covered the mouth piece of her phone as she looked to us. She looked anxious and worried. She was upbeat even at the worst of things and it worried me to see that something had gotten under her skin. "I need to go to NASA and take care of some things related to uh, the 'thing' that caused my powers. Hopefully I will be back in a couple of days but Allegra, can you take care of Bubbles for me?"
"...of course." I frowned with confusion. She won't be leaving the cat if it wasn't something very important.
"What?! You can't just go!" Sharron protested.
"This is a matter of national security and it's in my contract. Look, I really can't say more and there's a helicopter waiting for me. I will try and stay in contact if it takes longer then a few days but I really need to go..." With that she zoomed off without anther word leaving the rest of us stunned.
"Uh, what was that?" I frowned.
"I bet it's aliens." Falcon commented. "...do you think Starla is an alien?! Star-la!" He gasped.
"You were named after a bird, I was named after medication and Sharron was named after a flower." I pointed out. "None of us are any of those things. Well, except you are like half bird."
"I am not half-bird!" He glowered at me. "She got to you, didn't she? She sucked your brain out with a straw."
"She tried to do the same to you but there wasn't anything there." I replied.
"Enough." Sharron sighed tiredly. "We can't afford to have our numbers go down any lower. I don't like how quiet the Syndicate has been. I have a feeling that Madame Gloriosa will be planning something big as her 'Grand Opening' event as the new leader."
"Lilly is..." I frowned as I thought about it. "Yeah, Lilly does know how to put on a show..." She had gone out of her way to show off to Drake that she had killed Torment. Well, maybe that wasn't meant for Drake. She had wanted Liberty Girl and Night Ranger to see that she was in charge now and what happened to her enemies. Maybe her podcast of mocking Drake had been meant for me too.
"GO BACK TO HELL, WITCH!" A protester had pushed his way through the crowd of bystanders. Liberty Security and the police grabbed him before he could break through. "UNHAND ME! She is the Antichrist! Can you not see the beginning of the end?!" He screamed out. It took several officers to hold him down. Whatever drugs he was on was some pretty good stuff.
"Stop it. You're hurting him. Just let him go." I told the officers as I approached them. The frowned as they looked at each other. Liberty Girl nodded and they released him.
The man spat at my feet as he glared at me with intense hatred. "I know what you are. You have them fooled but not me. I will not be deceived by the beautiful flesh form you have chosen."
"Awww, you think I am pretty? Look, dude, why don't you just go home and sleep this off?" I suggested.
His intense gaze never left me as his hand went into his pocket. I gave the nearby police officers a slight wave to backoff as I seen their hands go to their holsters.
"Jesus Christ..." I swore as he put something twisting and moving into my hand. It was a snake. He had just handed me a fucking snake. "Is this thing poisonous?!"
"While one head eats it's own tail, the other head dies." He informed me before turning and disappearing back into the crowd.
"What the actual f-?!" I bit my tongue hard to keep from cussing as I further examined the sleek black snake in my hands. It had two heads.
***Thank you for reading Eclipse. I am sorry for the delay for this chapter. Sometimes life happens. Anyway, this is the last chapter and I appreciate everyone that has read up to know. I appreciate all of the reviews and comments. I haven't decided on if I am going to do a sequel or not yet. If you want to see another chapter in the Liberty Girl / Star Spangled Girl saga let me know. Thanks :)