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"Awesome! That's honestly a total relief." The wattage of Ryder's beaming smile did nothing to assuage Dragonfly's concerns about his sustained energy output.


Jenny had loaded the three tall plastic cups into a carry-out tray but waved Dragonfly away when she moved to pay for them. "Don't worry about it. I'm kind of a fan, too." She indicated a heart-shaped enamel pin on her cardigan coloured in stripes of blue, white and pink and shrugged.


"I've got so many ideas now! Like, I bet if I used residual spatial distortions to bend light I could create a kind of camouflage effect and deal with the excess heat from rapid instar swapping!" Ryder seemed to be largely in his own world, gesturing animatedly with both hands as he drew imaginary schematics in the air. "First I'd have to--"


"First you have a shift to finish so I can work on my paper," his sister insisted with a glare.


The younger sibling clapped his hands together and bobbed his head with a chagrinned laugh. "Yes! Right! But after that!"

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Mara had never liked special hero privileges like free drinks, but she had learned to deal with them. Largely, by planning future revenge.


She hesitated only slightly, nodding as lines like creases in paper wrapped around the drone box; it folded in on itself in a way that was mildly uncomfortable to watch, and disappeared. This gave her time to commit the Smoothie Shack's menu to memory, and to call up weather forecasts. HAX employees would probably enjoy a full round of smoothies when the summer got hot.... "Thank you," she said, carefully taking the drinks in both hands. She'd promised treats, and there would be treats, and that made them precious. "Should get these out before they warm up. Good luck with your paper, and the science."


As soon as she was out the door her wings burned their way into the world, and she was up, up, and away. She had deliveries to make.

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Ryder placed his hands on his hips and leaned back as the door closed behind Dragonfly. "How cool was that, right? I didn't really think about it until now but she could have been a lot less okay with me having her drone, right? I wonder if-- oh, you're making a face."


His sister was indeed making a face as he turned around to look at her. "Ryder. What did you build?"


He looked toward the ceiling to avoid her penetrating glare. "Um."


"Is this the bicycle all over again?"


"The bicycle wasn't even that bad!"


"You broke your arm in three places, Ryder."


"I mean, yeah, but only the one arm."


"Only the-- Ryder!"

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