Jump to content

Recommended Posts

October 2018 

Outside Claremont Academy 


Her long dark hair safely tucked away beneath a Freedom City Heroes hoodie, her face hidden by a dark pair of aviator sunglasses, Judy Smith waited by her sister's side for the arrival of their friends. "This is gonna be so fun," she told Ashley with a smile. "Ah can't believe we're gonna go shopping in a mall! It's gonna be the best day ever!" It had been a long, long time since she'd been able to go shopping by herself - and this didn't remotely count as by herself, but it was still a lot closer than she'd have been able to come under normal circumstances. Ah'm gonna find some jewelry for the dance, and maybe get a present for Leroy while I'm there - it's gonna be great! 

 

Secure in leather jacket and jeans, eyes hidden by her own dark glasses, Ashley thought about the vetting that the Secret Service had done before selecting the Patriot Shopping Center as the best 'mall' choice for Judy and her friends from Claremont to visit, the quiet checking she'd done herself into Danica and Micah's backgrounds, the advance scouting her team had done of the site, the advance driving she'd done to plot out the drive to Lantern Hill, the hope and the prayer that Lantern Jack wouldn't show up - and Watchdog grunted. "Hrm.

 

It was going to be an interesting day, at any rate. Now where were Danica and Micah, the two friends Judy had invited along for a "crazy, secret trip to the mall!"

Share this post


Link to post

Micah slowly walked out from the Academy and finished zipping up his jacket. It wasn't a horribly cold day, but he'd grown up in the warm flatlands of Oklahoma, where winters were generally not fierce, and were short lived compared to Freedom City. The young Roebuck lad was also not the sort to enjoy the cold anyways. So here he stood, in a sturdy windbreaker, hands in his pockets, considering the girls and the car in front of him.

 

Judy was a nice gal, he liked her well enough. Ashley was...she seemed like she cared about her sister, but Micah never felt at ease around her. Which seemed like the natural thing around her. 

 

"Hi Judy, Ashley. So, uh, who else was coming?"

 

Micah suddenly had a feeling he was going to have to carry something at some point. 

Share this post


Link to post

A soft whirring of tires announced  Danica moments before she rounded the corner and came into view. She was beaming as usual to see her friends, dressed in jeans and a soft green sweater with a blue backpack on her back in place of the tortoise shell. Her Segway had a blue handicap placard affixed prominently to the front today, presumably so nobody would give her a hard time about it at the mall. She waved and drove up to the others. "Hi, am I late? I was trying to get all my homework done before I came, and then I had to wait foreeeeever for that slow elevator in the dorm. Is this everybody?" 

Share this post


Link to post

"Hi Micah, hi Danica!" said Judy cheerfully, lighting up at the sight of her two friends. "It's just the four of us today," she went on, "but Ashley said if things go well, maybe we can bring more people next time." 


"Hrm," said Ashley, looking around for a moment before saying, "This way." Ashley led the group towards what was evidently their ride, an older-looking Cadillac sedan that was nonetheless a striking shade of bright, cherry red. "This car is called the Dawg," said Ashley, heading over to manually unlock it, popping open a truck full of tools for Danica to slide in her Segway - and to quickly help Danica once it was clear how heavy the thing was. Good Samaritan or not, she added in a growl, "She's gotten us through a lot of scraps. This is the first time I've gotten to drive it since-


"since the thing with the Raven," said Judy conspiratorially. "But it's a real nice ride, and not just for urban combat," she said, hesitating a little on the last phrase, popping in the back seat once Ashley had opened the door for her. "It's got a snackbar, and a television, and it's tough enough to keep out any Grue," she went on. "Look how thick the glass is!" And sure enough it was; on closer inspection, windows and windshield alike had to be a couple of inches thick. "Ah thought we should ride to the mall in style." 

Share this post


Link to post

Micah's eyebrows rose at the sight of the car. They seemingly tried to reach his hairline at the mention of the Raven. But when Judy listed off the features, they fell again, for just a moment, before Micah's expression shifted to polite interest. 

 

"That's a lot of stuff, Judy. It's pretty cool."

 

He reached out and tapped the glass, then the car's body.

 

"Yeah, that's pretty solid. You got some grape soda in there? And maybe some Animal Crackers?"

 

He moved to climb in, smiling a bit now.

 

"I suppose rolling up in this baby will make some kind of statement, anyway."

Share this post


Link to post

"Wow!" Danica exclaimed, peering out the window as she climbed into the car. "Are these windows bulletproof? Is the whole car bulletproof?" She buckled her seatbelt conscientiously. "I watched a documentary on the presidential limousine once, and they said that those cars are so armored that they weigh as much as three or four cars, but they still have to be able to go as fast as a police car in case of an emergency! And I saw a show one time about a really rich musician who got a limousine with a hot tub inside of it! Hey, have you got wifi in the car?" she asked excitedly. "You can use a laptop in the car if you have wifi in it, and watch TV and everything!" 

Share this post


Link to post

Judy looked at Micah - then looked away. "There aren't any snacks in it," she said softly.

 

Ashley's fingers tightened on the steering wheel of the car for just a moment, a faint audible creak of leather as girls and Micah crowded into the backseat. "Don't know whose car it was," she said evenly to the rearview mirror. "Took it with us.

 

Pulled firmly out of her reverie, Judy blinked at Danica uncertainly for a moment, then said, "Well, um, you can't believe everything you see on TV, but...this car does have a lot of cool stuff! W-watch this!" She concentrated for a moment, then smiled as the TV (built into the back of the armored front seat) opened up for them without touching a button. "Ah learned to do that mahself," she said, her Southern accent unusually thick for a moment. "But yeah, it's got wifi, and can get satellite transmissions, and all sorts of other things." 

 

Ashley made sure everyone was buckled in, then they headed out into traffic, the car's big engine making a sound as they started that did indeed sound like the growling of a big dog. 

 

Share this post


Link to post

Micah winced at Judy's reply in regards to snacks.

 

'Smooth move, Micah. Real smooth.'

 

He sighed and got in the car, trying not to crowd Danica or Judy. Ashley's gaze felt like blazing searchlights that saw into his very soul, even through the rear-view mirror. He did smile at Judy's "trick". 

 

"That really is impressive, Judy. And this thing seems like it'd be great for road trips. Or being stuck in traffic."

 

As Ashley gunned the engine, he closed his eyes for a moment and tilted his head slightly to one side, listening to the sound of the engine.

 

"Mm. You keep this girl in good shape, Ashley. The turbo's smooth. Sounds like you're not running rich, either."

Share this post


Link to post

Danica bounced a little in her seat, then leaned forward to study the TV. "Totally sweet!" she decided, poking at it enough to change the channel once. "It must have been really scary for you guys to have to run away from your world like that." She wasn't sure of a lot of the details, but word got around in such a small school. "It's a good thing you had this car to protect you. Does it have any, you know, powers?" she asked guilelessly. "Is it how you got here?" 

Share this post


Link to post

"Yeah!" said Judy, sounding quite pleased with herself. "It's a really cool car. Ashley says it'll even stop a tank. If, um, one shows up, anyway." 

"Not gonna fight a tank," said Ashley, but her tone was considerably less severe than her usual interactions with the other students - maybe because they were all in the car. "Had to set it up like that," she said to Micah, "not much of the good stuff where we're from." She tried to avoid direct lies around the teens, so instead she let Judy change the subject as they headed for the mall. 

 

"So what do you want to get at the mall?" she asked Danica and Micah excitedly. "Ah don't get to go to malls a lot, but Ah had some ideas. Ah was thinking the girls could all hit the fashion stores and get some nice things for ourselves, and Micah, there's a leathercraft store and an outdoor supply store y'all might like." She looked at Danica, considered diplomacy and tact with a politician's daughter's training, then said, "Ah know you don't want to go to the fall dance, but Ah bet we can get you some nice stuff that's just for, um, you!" 

 

By this time they were just pulling up to the Patriot Mall, a small open-air mall located near the edge of Lantern Hill proper. Her eyes on the road and on the scene, Ashley stared at the half-full parking lot for a moment, then seemed to nod in satisfaction before executing a quick turn inside. "I already have enough girl stuff," she told her sister with an air of patience, and a toss of her pink-dyed hair.

Share this post


Link to post

"Cars that only run on the highest-grade fuel are toys for rich people. Good engineering for non-racing vehicles allows for any legal octane rating without major performance differences."

 

Micah sounded like he was somewhere between quoting a book and speaking from experience. 

 

"Just speaks more to the quality of the vehicle."

 

Micah blinked at Judy's suggestions for stores. Did...did he seem like an "outdoors store" sort of guy? Still, the leather-crafting sounded at least mildly interesting, and outdoors-type stuff might have a few interesting bits.

 

"Seems good to me. I'll probably look for an electronics parts store, too."

Share this post


Link to post

Danica sort of wanted to visit the leathercraft store too, but it didn't seem nice to leave Judy all by herself when she was the one who'd invited them in the first place. "Sounds like fun," she told the other girl as they  drove around the back of what was apparently a mall these days, even though it wasn't enclosed and didn't have a movie theater or anything. Danica wasn't sure why Ashley chose to park in the back of the mall, in place she wasn't 100% certain was legal, but it did get them close to the big stores. With some help, she was able to unstoke her Segway and settle her backpack into place, ready to face the wonders and rigors of the mall. "And after we finish our shopping, we can hang out at the food court and have Orange Julius!" She gave the mall a slightly skeptical look. "Do strip malls have food courts?" 

Share this post


Link to post

"Mm," said Ashley, considering. Jeez, she is from the 80s "Think they have those at Dairy Queen," she said, making a little gesture to the fast food restaurant that was one of the mall's brand-name fast food chains. She'd made sure to do some rigorous checking, or at least the field agents she'd sent ahead had. Shooting a quick, almost invisible glance up at the helicopter that was hovering overhead, she led the way under the mall's cover. An outdoor mall had been quite the subject of debate among Judy's expanded Secret Service detail; but Ashley had persuaded them that the substantially lowered supervillain risk was worth the mundane security risk. Blind spots though this building had, it wasn't the sort of place a supervillain would want to rob. They headed first past the small Christian bookshop, where Ashley was proud that Judy didn't do more than walk a little faster past the pictures of her mom's book in the front window "RAISING A FAMILY IN TODAY'S AMERICA." 

 

Wonder what they'd think if they knew. 

 

She was rather glad Danica had brought her Segway along; it helped make sure they were moving past all the places she did _not_ want them to linger. She kept the smile off her face as they headed inside the mall's first clothing store, a small place that looked to be the sort where a lot of college students and artsy types shopped. Once inside, Judy turned to Danica and smiled. "Okay, Ah know you have a nice wardrobe, and Ah like how you dress, but it's always more fun to shop together." She was pretty sure of that anyway, never actually having had the chance. "We could, um, pick out stuff that goes with your color. Ah bet there's some nice black and gold here...look at this!" It didn't take her long to spot the first case she liked, a long black dress with faux gold leaf designs - it looked a bit warm for Danica's Arizona tastes though, going down to ground level and even covering her sleeves.

 

"What do you think, Micah, won't this look good on her?" asked Judy.

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×