The sports car was beyond high tech, passing that in the rearview and hitting upon futuristic with a slam of sparkling silver brakes. Henry gave Kincaid a look that screamed 'mine' with all the subtly of a pre-teen who's played way too many Super Thievery Vehicle games and was returned with a 'no-way-in-heck' smirk as the taller boy raced him to the door. Upgrade had left the vehicle idling on the curb as she robbed Maria's Mobiles for the 15th time that month and while Ghost never really agreed with them joining her on missions, she couldn't really fault them for stealing the villain's getaway vehicle and making her life easier, could they?
Afterall, she'd only frowned at them this time, not ordered them back, and Henry wondered if his work with technology was what had convinced the heroine to let him and Kincaid back her up. Adults were all terrible with technology anyways, and you really did need a younger and more nimble mind at the helm on occasion. He'd seen the look of shock on Nancy's face when she saw his computer setup in the Senator's office, and he was fairly certain that she was just as terrible as Ben when it came to advanced computers. He'd seen Ben nearly toss a printer through a glass window when it refused to print and Kincaid, if he was completely honest, wasn't that much better. Although he could navigate a cell phone and that was a point in his favor.
"Longer legs, Cheatcode." Kincaid gloated, stealing the coveted seat and laughing as the vehicle fairly purred to life. Screens flashed on as Henry pouted and slid into the shotgun seat while his buddy stared in astonishment at the multitude of dials and buttons. How Eloise Carnefeller didn't die every time she hit the streets was a mystery to Kincaid, as he suspected that this was way too disorganized even for Henry. Underneath him the seat resized itself, sliding forward a little so that his feet gently rested on the pedals. Next to him Henry's seat slid too, so that the passenger could get a good look at the driver's face. A dozen option holos lit his friend's face in neon green and gold and without thinking Henry touched one, marveling as it responded, rearranging itself with his motions.
"Swashbuckler, let me point out that one of us has the name indicating technological proficiency and it isn't you!" He ignored Kincaid's snort of laughter, already elbow deep in a dozen holograms displaying everything from possible radio stations to internal parts that could be swapped on the fly. Kincaid was just about to press his foot into the pedals when the shop door slammed open, spilling Upgrade and Ghost into the streets. Nancy caught sight of them, her mouth an 'O' of surprise at what they were doing as Eloise's face twisted into one of horror.
"Get out of that right now!" She shouted shrilly, her northern accent far thicker than usual, "It's too advanced for you, you'll hurt yourselves!" Nancy seemed to agree with her, abandoning their fight and moving towards them, her expression one of someone trying to calm a spooked creature. Kincaid felt annoyance course threw him and could see the same expression forming on Henry's face. They weren't stupid! Car's, even advanced ones, all worked on the same mechanics right? He was a mechanical genius and he and Kincaid had played more than enough driving simulator games.
"Want to go for a joyride?" Henry asked, lips pressed tightly together as he gave his more impulsive friend the go-ahead. Kincaid's smirk and foot pressing into the pedal was an answer all its own as beneath them the vehicle roared away from the curb, launching itself onto the street.
An unamused Ghost hopped onto her hover board, tearing off after them and keeping a pretty good pace. Henry hadn't expected her board to be capable of going 40 mph but he also hadn't designed it, and he wanted to congratulate the maker on their capabilities.
"Pull over!" she shouted over the wind whipping around them, her voice barely loud enough to interrupt their ride. Henry responded by turning the radio up, blaring whatever Upgrade had last been listening to. The dulcet tones of Frank Sinatra weren't exactly as invigorating as NWA but at least it was louder than the young woman trying to play cop with them.
Kincaid pressed the gas pedal harder, attempting to lose Nancy as they rocketed down main street, the only thing stopping them from crashing into someone being that it was 2 AM and no other criminals wanted to be out in the hot, humid evening. Their pursuer kept pace with them, her board accelerating evenly as the needle climbed upwards of 60 mph.
It was the strongest rush of adrenaline, racing the city's superheroine in the dead of a summer night, street lights flashing above them in rapid stripes as they neared the edges of the metropolis, the sticky air clinging to their costumes, only to be outpaced by the speed of Upgrade's vehicle.
Kincaid let out a whoop of joy and Henry could feel his own heart respond by skipping a beat as they roared up the turn to the interstate ramp on 2 wheels, Nancy still on their heels, her cape abandoned someone around the intersection of Grayson Avenue and Todd Thoroughfare to reduce drag. His delight at their joyride came to a crashing halt as the car came back down on four wheels and his hands slammed through the hard light holograms, scrambling them and knocking more than few of them into the ether. Immediately, the vehicle responded, alarms blaring as it seemed to realize that it was not being driven by its owner.
The racer revved loudly, warning screen after warning screen popping up as it demanded a vocal authorization that neither boy was authorized to give. Kincaid shot his friend a wild look as the vehicle instead of slowing to stop them, picked up further speed and a video of Upgrade began to play, loud enough to be heard in the convertible over the howling wind.
"Thief! You think you can just take what isn't yours?!" Eloise's pre-recorded message was furious and Henry tried to shut it off, tried to shut anything off, but only succeeded in causing more error messages to pop up and Eloise's video to shriek louder. "Well, it was the worst mistake of your life, moron, because this car won't stop until it crashes into something. Good luck and good riddance!" His groan of distress was lost to the sound of the car's engine revving and became a scream as Nancy dove into the back of the vehicle, her board spinning out behind them as she landed more or less intact.
"HENRY," her words were almost snatched away before he could hear them, "SWITCH ME PLACES!" He didn't even correct her use of his civilian name, just scrambled into the back as she ghosted through the chair, the top half of her body sliding under the panels up front. "KEEP DRIVING KINCAID!" She shouted, yanking wire after wire, wincing periodically as her fingers got zapped before finally dragging out a circuit board.
With a triumphant grin, Nancy quickly dismantled it, pulling off pieces with a surgeon's precision. Henry couldn't help be amazed as the vehicle immediately lost speed, slowing to a manageable crawl as Kincaid pulled it off the road. Wincing at the loop of Eloise wishing them nothing but an unpleasant death, she dove back under the panels, pulling out a small black box that she promptly shot with one of her ectoplasm revolvers.
"But, how? You struggle with the Keurig machine in the office!" Kincaid shot him a look that said "Seriously? That's your priority right now?" but Henry truly couldn't believe what he'd just seen. Nancy had never shown him any technical proficiency, and yet she had just done what he couldn't and with an unexpected ease.
Okay maybe it hadn't been easy, but still! He'd thought her technologically inept. There had been no hints at this sort of skill, at the ability to dive into the hood of a vehicle designed by one of the most technologically advanced minds around and rewire it to her commands. He could be excused both his confusion and the faint feeling of betrayal at the thought that Nancy had been holding back in their conversations, that she was actually his equal. Now that he really thought about it though, there had been moments, little clues where she would suggest something to him that would make him rethink a schematic, gentle nudges that were helpful but unobtrusive. They were exactly the sort of things he'd expect the kind hearted hero to do, attempting to mentor and nurture without overshadowing the people she wanted to help. Come to think of it, those hints had started coming after she'd seen his computer rig in the Senator's office. Maybe what he'd interpreted as shock had been something else and - his musings were interrupted by the sound of Nancy's voice, snapping him forcefully back into the present.
"Listen to me, and listen very carefully," the usually cheerful heroine looked calmly furious, her voice even and her expression hard, "We do not steal super villain's vehicles and use them for a joy ride. We are not thieves and we do not break the law. Do you hear me loud and clear? Further, we do not drive things we have no experience with!" Kincaid nodded dazedly, his hands shaking on the steering wheel and Henry found himself responding with a "Yes, Ma'am" that would have made any mother proud.
"Wait," Kincaid's voice was only shaking slightly, "You're not mad that we're underage and driving, just that we stole a vehicle and couldn't control it?" Nancy shrugged slightly, her expression perplexed at the question as she glanced at the box she'd shorted out, fiddling with the wires that led into it and trying to pry open the crumpled casing.
" To be completely honest, I'm more upset that you don't know how to drive and tried it, not that you're too young. I was a pilot at your age, I certainly don't think you shouldn't learn." Something in her expression hardened, "I do expect you to meet with me for lessons if you want to ever drive again. I'm not going to be responsible for either one of you hurting yourself, and I don't want you breaking the law if you tag along with me, so yeah, no driving until you're old enough unless it's absolutely unavoidable. I know it sucks, but it's only a few years." Both boys nodded, taking everything in, before Kincaid broke the silence.
"Wait, you were a pilot at 13?!"
Nancy grinned, "9 actually, but who's counting?"