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[Perspective switch: Promethean]

    I saw someone who looked an awful lot like Hans shoot at Lucky near what was left of an obliterated van. There was considerable property damage going on. Then a second plasma stream approached. It looked more like him than the first one did. I headed towards him, recognized him.
    "What happened?!"
    "You're powers will be most valuable here, fatigue him!" he urged, pointing toward the other plasma wielder.
    Someone he didn't want killed, apparently. We headed for the fight. Hans flung a bolt of plasma toward the other man. Lucky threw her staff at him a moment later and missed.
    This other saw Lucky beneath him, Hans and me closing in from above, and appeared to reach a decision. He fired a fierce wave of plasma directly at the ground.
    The gas main exploded.
    The force of it hit me like a truck; I pulled out of an uncontrolled spin literally a foot from the windscreen of a bus which had just screeched to a halt. Hans made it to the ground and crumpled there, unconscious. Lucky was singed, brushing herself off.
    I dropped down next to Hans; he didn't seem to be badly hurt, but a gout of flame from the gas main was shooting into the sky not far away.
    "I really shouldn't be seen here," Lucky said.
    "OK, fine, I'll call 911."
    A paramedic trotted up. An ambulance was stuck behind the bus. "What's happened, what's going on?"
    "Check her, check him, I think they're all dead, I have to call the fire department," I snapped.
    "Shut off the gas main," he suggested, bending over Hans. "Crimp it, somehow."
    Good idea. Lucky choked the pipe; the flame died immediately.
    "This guy's in shock, doesn't look that bad."
    I suddenly realized that this was Hans' parents house, scanned for life inside it. Nothing.
    "He should be okay."
    "Mother, father..." Hans moaned.
    "Check and see if his parents are in the—"
    "I just did, they're not there." At least, not alive. "Where are they?"
    "Don't know," he mumbled. Sirens approached.
    "Who?" I asked him urgently. "Where are they?"
    He pulled his phone out and dialed a number shakily. "Is Mr. Schmidt there?" Whatever the answer was, he dropped the phone. The paramedic had vanished. My teammate curled into a ball on the street.
    "Hans, come on, stay with us, let us help you." I was practically begging.
    He wasn't hearing me as they loaded him into the ambulance.
    The crowds were getting restless and nasty. A ripe tomato soared toward Lucky; her stick snapped around to block it without any evident effort.
    "Could you—never mind, I've got my bike," she realized. "See you later.
    "Where you going?" I asked resignedly.
    "Chandler's." She walked away.
    "Where do you think you're going?" I heard from that direction a moment later. A trio of burly men had collected around her bike. I headed over there fast, praying that she wouldn't explode under their provocation. She didn't. She gave me a single, meaningful glance; I nodded and put a shield over her, pushing the men backward gently. They weren't happy about that at all.
    "Freaks," one of them snarled at me. "You helping the killer now?" Something hit my own shield and bounced away.
    "Don't judge things you don't understand," Lucky muttered, and roared off. I glared at the men, turned on my heel and stalked back toward the departing ambulance.
    This has not been the best day of my life by a long shot. Not the worst either, but that top five list is getting pretty crowded. And I still have no idea just what happened here.

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© 1999 Rebecca J. Stevenson