Sunday, July 7, 2013

Sunday Serial~The Kuehl Kids Part 16

Electra couldn't believe her ears. 

"Surrender?" she asked, her eyes popping open.  "Not fighting?"

Ally sighed.  "Remember the thingy that sapped our powers?" she said.  "We haven't gotten our powers back yet."

"So we're normal."  The word tasted bitter in Electra's mouth. 

There was a short silence.
Then Tyler poked his head in the doorway.  "It's time to brief Electra on what's been happening."  He gave her a cocky grin, but his eyes weren't smiling.  They seemed almost haunted, sad.

The two led Electra into a huge room that was nonetheless the lobby of the abandoned hospital.

There were people in it.  More people than Electra was accustomed to.  Besides Tyler, Ally, Almira, the Professor, and Quake, there were a number of people who bore remarkable likenesses to Tyler and Ally.  And there were others who did not introduce themselves, but merely stood and nodded.

A tall, gray-haired man with wire-rimmed glasses and a blotchy lab coat stuck his hand out.  "I'm Timothy, Tyler's uncle," he said to Electra.

Electra, eyes widening, shook it.

Various other people introduced themselves.  Ally's parents, Sarah and Keith, were present.  Still others had connections to all of the kids' parents and the Superhero Club. 

"So what's been happening?" Electra finally asked, when all the buzz had died down.

The Professor looked even more tired than everyone else.  Almira handed him a cup of coffee.

He took a long sip, wiped his mouth, and sighed.  "Well, I'd better start from the beginning," he said.  "There's still a lot of unfinished business I need to tell you about."

He took another long drag from the coffee mug, then set it down and licked his lips.  "We have put together a plan that will possibly bring peace to every one of us and destruction to Jalling's plans," he said.  "The plan is not foolproof by any means.  It requires a great deal of things to go right, and many of the components can go wrong.  It requires a huge amount of trust, and secrecy.  And yes, we are going to surrender."

He paused before saying, "There are many things that remain unfinished.  Hopefully this plan will solve it, but first, I need to inform everyone of a few basic background facts.  First, we have an advantage over Jalling.  He has Walter, but we have Quake."

Two burly men entered, carrying a bound Quake.  Quake was not struggling, but every now and then a muscle twitched, and Electra saw him mouth a few words that were not complimentary.  The men laid him on two chairs. 

There was murder in Quake's eyes.

"I know from previous acquaintance with Jalling that he has a plan that will bring ruination to the whole earth," the Professor went on.  "In order to carry out his plan, he needs the two main superheroes together.

"You see, the Superhero Club existed solely on the basis of two or three main superheroes and a various number of sidekicks.  The two or three superheroes would be able to control two of the main elements of earth; namely, land and water."

Here, the Professor looked at Quake, who was evidently surprised.  Quake had stopped struggling, and for a moment, Electra thought she saw something other than hostility in his face.  Interest, maybe.  Surprise. 

"Jalling got Quake, the land leader, but we got Walter, the water boy.  That's why, when Walter was kidnapped, we took Quake."

"Why didn't we just focus on retrieving Walter?" Electra blurted out.

She felt eyes on her back, but she kept her focus on the Professor.

The Professor looked sad.  "Walter is a good person," he said.  "He needed answers.  He chose his way.  Ultimately, Electra, he will not find answers with Jalling.  He has been cultivated too long, I believe, on a ground of good to be fully ruined by the farmer of evil.  I sincerely hope and believe that he will come back to us.  One never finds answers with evil, but always with good.  All that to say, is, Walter has tasted good.  He will never be satisfied with evil, because he already knows what good feels like.  I let him go because I know he will come back to us a better and wiser person."

There was still a struggle in Electra.  But she kept her lips pursed as the Professor nodded slightly in her direction, then resumed speaking.

"So Jalling's plan is foiled," the Professor said.  "But he will stop at nothing.  We still need to stop him.  And the plan is to surrender.  To let us be taken, to fool them into thinking we are a bunch of weakminded goody-two-shoes scalawags.  And from the middle, we will penetrate.  We will strike home."

"Um, Professor?" Ally raised her hand.

"Yes, Ally?"

"How do we strike home?" Ally cocked her head respectfully.  "I mean, threatening to harm Quake won't work."

"Ah."  The Professor's eyes lit up, and Electra thought maybe he was just a tad bit excited for this plan.  She still had doubts, but she trusted him enough.  Enough.

"We still have their parents," the Professor said.  "There, we will penetrate the kids' hearts.  With love.  Their parents."  He nodded to a group of people, the group that hadn't introduced themselves to Electra.  Peering at them closely, Electra noted that they all bore some resemblance to their children.

All was silent for a moment. 

Then Electra remembered something.

"Is Jalling really Walter's dad?" she asked.  "Or was he lying?"

The Professor looked like he was a swirl of emotions.  Sadness, anger, love, hope all poured out from his well-worn face.

"He was lying," he said simply.  "Walter's parents are Charles and Almira."

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