Alissa flew towards the skyscraper, and got into the penthouse at the very top. Marcus had left the entrance open, for any of the other arrivals, as he usually did. When Alissa entered the living room, Jane was already there, working on a painting. She said that, due to her mental powers, she worked best when she was around others like them – people who had not been affected by the Enlightenment. Jane raised her eyebrows, noticing Alissa’s mind in the background. She blushed a little, and her painting became noticeably more intense. Alissa didn’t want to interrupt her, so she greeted Jane just by thinking of her. She then went straight towards Marcus and the others.
“So, what’s new?” Alissa asked.
Marcus turned to greet her. “Hey, Alissa, glad to see you” he smiled. “Lin was just telling us about this new suit of armour that she is building”.
“Oh, that sounds interesting” she responded.
“Lin, can you do a quick recap for Alissa, please?” Marcus asked.
“Sure. I’ve told you guys on many occasions how I’ve been working on functional armour that was responsive to our powers” Lin explained. “Well, I finally have the blueprints and the first prototype for a hand piece that can optimize and even improve my abilities!”
“That’s really cool” Alissa said.
“Will you please make a demonstration? I want to see the difference”.
“Well, Marcus, I wouldn’t be telling you guys about this to then keep you in the dark, would I? I’ve left my things next to the entrance, I’ll be back in a sec”.
Jane joined them.
“Are you done painting?” Alissa asked her.
“No, but I wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity to see that glove at work” she said. “Also, I’m working on quite a complex piece, so I’d like to take my time to complete it” she explained.
Before Alissa or Jane could say anything else, Lin got back into the room with two small potted plants that looked quite similar to each other. She was also holding a glove, and some measuring equipment. Before saying a thing, she placed one plant in the centre of the room, and set up the measurement equipment around the plant. She left the glove on a coffee table on the side.
“So, I’m going to make a demonstration. I’m going to output about 2000 calories of energy each time, and make the plant grow” Lin announced. “The meters are going to make sure that my power output is the same in each case. You will see how different the results are”.
Lin started to concentrate her power. Alissa noticed how she was struggling – Lin had never been the strongest member of the team, which was, in part, the reason why she had geared her efforts towards innovation, in order to catch up with her teammates –, but did not say a thing. Jane took a hand to her temple, which Alissa knew was Jane’s way of closing her mind to her surroundings. Lin’s struggle seemed quite off-putting mentally for Jane.
“Seems like a lot of effort for not much results, am I right?” Marcus murmured.
He was right. The plant had barely grown a few leaves, and looked greener than before. The meter had hit 2000 calories, and Lin looked quite tired. She showed the rest of them the plant, and left it aside. She then placed the second plant in the same position, and put on her glove. Without saying a word, she started to concentrate once again.
The change was immediate. The plant doubled in size, and its leaves were much thicker than before. Everyone in the room was very surprised, and gave a round of applause. Lin thanked them with a nod of her head, and took off the glove.
“As you can see, the amount of calories spent has been the same in each case” Lin said, pointing towards the monitor.
“That’s incredible” Daniel commented.
“And this is only the first iteration” Lin answered. “It’s not been optimized, and could perform much better”.
“I think you should take it to the next meeting of the League of Supervillains” Marcus said.
“Now that you mention it, I received a notification” Alissa interjected. “The League has called for another meeting next week, I think”.
Marcus seemed pretty surprised. “I haven’t received any notifications” he stated.
“I have, too. But I think it is a top-level-only meeting” Daniel explained.
“Oh, I hadn’t had the time to read the whole notification” Alissa said.
Alissa noticed her anxiety going up a bit. The power-level classification was a sensitive topic for Lin and Marcus (even though he insisted that he didn’t care). Alissa herself didn’t really care much, but she noticed that their expressions had mutated, and felt some awkwardness continuing with the topic. She was looking for a way out of that situation when she started to feel relaxed again. Alissa knew that this must be Jane, softly tapping into their minds, helping them relax the tension.
“It’s just some admin stuff, quite boring, really. The meetings involving the whole League are way more interesting” Daniel said.
“It’s probably just Chairman Patil announcing some changes, right?” Jane added.
Alissa nodded, mentally thanking Jane for the assistance. “Yes, I think so. We’ll tell you guys all about it when we’re back”.
“Yeah, cool, that way we get the summarized version. I mean, come on, Chairman Patil can sometimes go on about stuff that nobody cares about!” Marcus said.
“I don’t think she is that bad. Sure, she is quite repetitive, but at least her message tends to be clear. I think the Secretary, Salman, is way worse. Every time he talks it’s as if he is dictating a conundrum for us to solve. I cannot make out any sense of what he means, not even with my telepathic abilities!” Jane followed.
“God, you’re right. He’s the worst” Marcus agreed.
From there, the conversation derived into other topics, gossip about other supervillains, future projects that they were working on, jokes… In the end, the Friday Supervillain Meetup ended on a light note.