Helios and Witch looked at each other for a second, their faces full of shock. “I don’t think I can ever watch The Wizard of Oz the same way again.”
“Hell.”, Helios pointed at grant, who was sitting with a slightly smug look on his face. “I don’t think I can look at Grant the same way again.” The stony features of his face went from a broad smile formed into a frown as he cast his glare on Steel, who just shrugged and continued working on his belt.
“See that’s why I like him, he doesn’t judge.” The stone man said pointing at his seat-mate.
“Oh no Grant, I judge you; just silently.” Steel replied, still fiddling around. Grant laughed deeply and slapped his friend on the back. The blow didn’t have much force, and barely registered any audible sound, but it still managed to force the technological hero to lurch forward, his seatbelt stopping the hero’s forward motion. Despite this, his hands kept at work repairing the device.
Things settled down from there. Grant sat back half asleep, completely oblivious to Steel. He had brought out a small tool that shot sparks out into the air when it touched the hollowed out insides of the belt buckle. Helios went back to texting furiously, laughing and raising an eyebrow every few minutes. Witch sat about for a few moments. She looked at Steel, transfixed for a moment on the sparks, but then quickly became bored. Her gaze moved over to the sleeping golem. His barrel chest rose up in rhythm with his almost painfully loud snoring. This too became quite boring. The sound of laughter perked her up a bit. Her seatmate was busy texting, and she wanted to see what was up. With the grace of a middle schooler cheating on a test, she carefully maneuvered herself into a position to just peek over the blond’s shoulder.
A giant Cheshire sized grin spread across her face. Dimples complimented the freckles on her face as her green eyes fixated on the texts. Suddenly her grin subsided and the freckles on her cheeks began to be surrounded by the color red. Blushing the doctor scooched herself back in her seat. Apparently she had seen enough texting for the duration of the flight. Despite learning a few things about Helios she would have rather not known, there was still a boredom to the woman that she just couldn’t shake. Everyone was either texting things about what they were going to do with their significant others, sleeping, or fixing their toys. Toys, she thought. A small smile formed on her face as her gloved hands began their work. At first, she put them in front of her body. Then she began tracing lines in the air. With every dexterous movement, a golden light trailed behind. Soon a pentagram had formed. The golden symbol illuminated her features as she giggled to herself in glee. The rest of her allies continued about their business, not sparing the time to look up from the arcane spectacle. Save for Helios, who looked up for a second. He noticed that there wasn’t a demon emerging from the middle of the pentagram, like last time. So, he went back to the daunting task of texting his love.
Timidly, the Witch Doctor moved one hand towards her magical creation. A strange noise reminiscent of Steel’s soldering sizzled into existence when the woman’s gloved fingertips went through the symbol and seemingly disappeared into a void. Reflexively she pulled them back and after noticing that the tips of her fingers were still there, she redoubled her efforts. Fingertips. Then her fingers. Finally, her hand dipped into the void inside of the magic portal. With childlike glee, she fished around trying to find something. After a few seconds of concentrated flailing, the look on her face said that she had found what she was looking for. With a triumphant grunt, the redhead pulled back with as much force as her arm could muster. Clenched within her fingers was two leather straps, attached to an outdated doctors bag. With a flick of her wrist and an arcane word, the glowing pentagram disappeared and it’s creator began inspecting her bag. “Tink” “Tink”, the clasps were unfastened and the doctor dove her hand into her bag. The pink of her tongue peeked out from between her purple painted lips, as she dug around, causing strange noises to issue forth from the container. Metalic clanking, a bottle breaking, and loud roar sounded out as the doctor went about her task. Helios dropped his phone at the roar and moved his gaze from the curious woman, whose entire forearm was now plunged deep into the bag, to his other teammates. Steel was still working on his belt and Grant was now even deeper into his slumber.
Helios found himself staring slack-jawed at Witch Doctor as she began pulling at something, lightly at first but with every jerk back her effort grew. “Need a hand”, he found himself asking.
“Got to say, I know you’re a handy guy and all, but I’ve got another on just in case.”, she smiled back at him, fully knowing that her pun was awful. Helios just sat their head in his hand, trying his best not to giggle. He contest of strength eventually bore fruit. With an exultant cry, he her right hand popped out of the bag, clutching a metal pole, with multiple branches. She took her other hand and wrapped it at the apparent base of the rod and began pulling. Like climbing up a rope except in reverse.
“The hell is that for?”, Helios again found himself staring wildly at the magic user and she pulled an item out of a bag that was much longer than the container could possible fit.
“Oh well, I thought that I should pack some medical supplies after the attack on the city.” She finally got to the end of the medical equipment, she placed the IV stand proudly onto the metal floor of the jet and continued talking at a rapid pace. “Thing is everywhere we go right, people get injured. No matter if you punch em too hard. They get electrical burns, claustrophobia because a certain someone got lazy during a fight or if a certain someone, who shall remain nameless”, she casually glanced at her ghostly teammate who paid her no mind. “Causes someone to have a panic attack again, I can have the right tools to stream em. Also, you can only find so many ballpoint pens to give someone a tracheotomy.” Her logic was sound, but there was one burning question that hung in Helios’s mind.
“Why not use magic?” The question came from across the room. The Steel Phantom had stopped what he was doing and was paying attention in earnest. Welling up with pride and enthusiasm, the doctor began addressing Steel and Helios in a manner similar to that of an over exuberant teacher .
“Magic is kind of a kerfuffle in the medical world. People have been brought back from the edge of death to darn near perfect health. But, there are many extreme variants to take into account. The strength of the patient’s spirit, relative power of the practitioner, type of magic used and the general health of the patient in question.”
They nodded in turn, as she continued, pulling more items out of her bag. She produced a tiny doll of the human body, that had crisscrossing lines drawn in several different colors.
“ I can use magic to heal a bodily wound”, she pointed to the skin of the doll. “But I can’t automatically give you more blood”, she pointed to the red lines. “I can, however, stimulate the creation of plasma, blood cells, and increase your blood flow with magic”, her gloved finger rested on the heart, one of three places where the lines interconnected. “So if your body isn’t up to it, your possibilities of living are slim despite the use of magic. Now if I was to give you a blood transfusion on top of all the magic….”, she looked at her students imploring them with her body language to finish her sentence. Steel set there, like the smug kid in class. With a heavy sigh, Helios answered; even raising his hand.
“ Your chances of surviving improve exponentially.”
“Exactly!”, Witch shouted. One hand dipped into the bag and fished out a piece of candy, she then gingerly placed it into the superheroes hands. “There is also the issue of how much magic I can use and still be effective in combat. Most entree level magic users can cast minor cantrips and such while not feeling fatigued. But, when they cast higher level magic, headache, nausea,…”
“Indigestion”, Grant cut in yawning loudly as he spread his arms out to each side.
Witch just laughed and continued more happy about her new “student” than angry about being interrupted. “Yes even indigestion, but the symptoms can become much worse if they aren’t ready to cast said spell or are too fatigued. The effects can range from heart attacks to death. But lucky for you”, she spoke gleefully “You have an accomplished mage on your team.”
“Lucky for us”, Grant responded giving the Witch some of the credit she was looking for. “Think I know what happened ta Purple Pugilist, ya see he got these magic gloves that drained him for a punch. One day…”
“Hey, Grant. How’s Grace?”, Helios quickly cut in not wanting to hear another of the former villains stories.
“Not bad, she’s doin good in school. But, she’s been coughing a bit. She says she’s ok, but think I’m gonna take her to a doc. Only problem is not too many docs willin to take a look at people like me and her.”
“You mean supers?”, The blonde hero responded back, his tone more serious than it was previously.
Grant fidgeted a bit. “Yeah, I guess you know how it is. Some people won’t even take you. Others don’t have the equipment and then there’s the back alley psychos, experimenting.”
Helios just looked down, remembering all too well some of the experiences he had with his mother, just to get a needle through his arm.
“We’ve got the facilities to treat Grace in a safe way Grant, come see me in pediatrics on Tuesday. I’m running both the super and non-super branches from twelve to eight.”, The good doctor chimed in, elevating the moods of her teammates with a simple offer. The blonde to her left perked up, but that was nothing compared to the stone-skinned giant across from him. His previous jolly demeanor returned as he lightly bumped Steel on the shoulder. Still lurching him to the side.
“I’ll do that Abbey, used to have to watch those back alley fucks to make sure they weren’t doing anything crazy. But, thanks to my new boss I’ve got some decent insurance now.” He patted his seatmate on the shoulder and from the bottom of his heart and said, “Thanks, Darius, really means a lot.”
The helmeted figure turned to face his employee nodded and turned back to renew his work on his belt. “Since it’s helping you that much, think you could pay me back for the emergency babysitters.”
Grant’s hand left it’s previous perch and he turned to regard Helios. “So where are we going again?” Steel’s shoulders rapidly rose and fell for a few seconds before they returned to their stationary, rigid position. If you happened to have super hearing, you would’ve heard laughter coming from the almost robotic hero.
(All rights reserved to JBillusion)