Chapter 59


               “Get everyone back from the debris,” Titan ordered into his earphone. It had taken longer than he wanted to meet up with Fix-It then get back to the barrier of cars and concrete, but he’d finally arrived with a freshly healed Eli in tow. The young man had borne the journey better than others that Titan had leapt around with before, though his skin was slightly off color as Titan set him back onto solid ground.

                “Heard,” Galvanize replied. “Pulling back as far as we can safely go. What’s E.T.A. on opening up a way out for us? Reports from below say they won’t be able to keep the overpass suspended much longer. Supers are pretty much the only things keeping us aloft right now.”

                “If this works, then we should have a clear path in less than a minute. If not, I’m going to have to be sloppy in opening up a hole.”

                “I’ll cross my fingers for Plan A,” Galvanize replied.

                While they’d been talking, Eli had walked up and down the length of the barrier once, assessing which places to target first. Titan kept a close eye on the kid, watching for any signs of him thinking about running. Thankfully, either Eli was a man of his word or he was just smart enough to know that Titan wouldn’t let him go; regardless he made no movement to bolt. Instead, he turned back to the man who had beaten, crippled, and then helped fix him all in the span of less than half an hour.

                “I’m going to try and start around the black sedan,” Eli said, pointing to an area thick with car parts and concrete.

                “Seems like it will take longer to get through there.” Titan didn’t contradict the assessment; he merely waited to see how Eli would justify it.

                “Only by a bit, and it’s far more stable than some of the other parts. If I get rid of a different section, it will cause another piece of the wall to come tumbling down. This is only area that seems solid enough to carve a path through.”

                “Then go to it,” Titan instructed. He’d reached much the same conclusion when he did his first look at the problem; it was interesting that Eli had a keen enough eye to spot the potential hazards. Then again, for a kid whose ability eroded matter into nothingness, that was probably something he’d needed to master out of sheer self-preservation.

                Eli raised his hands toward the chunk of barricade and took a deep breath. Gray, crackling energy manifested in his palms, two twin orbs that steadily grew until they were roughly the size of softballs. The one from his right palm flew forward, washing over the front door of the sedan and quickly vanishing, along with most of the door.

                “Going to have to go bigger,” Eli muttered to himself. The orb in left hand began expanding again, filling with more power until it was bigger than a basketball and was barely kept in Eli’s grip. This time when the orb struck the debris, it wiped out the rest of the sedan and a large chunk of concrete behind it.

                “Alright, that’s the size,” Eli declared. His hands filled with two more orbs, faster this time that the first, and he fired both shots in short order, quickly destroying a vast chunk of the barricade. Titan could already see through to the other side, there were only cursory barriers left in place.

                “Tone it down for the next shot,” Titan cautioned, which earned him a contemptuous glare from Eli.

                “I know how to use my power.” Eli demonstrated just that by lobbing two smaller orbs at the remaining debris, opening up a path to the other side with unexpected precision. Before Titan could comment, Eli charged up another pair of shots and went to the task of widening his hole in the barricade so more people could fit through.

                “Galvanize, we’re got an opening. Bring everyone this way, but keep them orderly. This is still a dangerous area if things get out of control.”

                “Don’t worry, Huggles is really good at making people stay in line,” Hexcellent replied.

                “True, though I won’t be surprised if at least a few parents try to bill us for the therapy their children will doubtlessly need,” Galvanize replied. “Hexcellent is heading to your location, I’m going to hang to the back and make sure everyone gets through.”

                “We’ll be waiting here to guide them along,” Titan said. He looked around, trying to see any early arrivals through the newly opened hole, and noticed that Eli had stopped shooting orbs.

                “This is as big as I can get it without risking another section spilling over,” the young criminal said.

                “Then it’s what we’ve got to work with.” Titan scanned the path; it was large enough for him to stand comfortably in, though he couldn’t raise his arms from his side without smacking debris. It was a deathtrap if the people panicked, but with Huggles around they would hopefully be more scared of the blade-armed demon than the tenuous safety of their surroundings.

                “So is this it? Did I earn my freedom?”

                “You earned your legs,” Titan shot back, motioning to the functioning limbs that had been crushed bone fifteen minutes ago. “I’ll hold up my end as far as talking to the cops like I promised, but there’s no way you’re going to skate out of this completely scott-free.”

                “Worth a shot,” Eli said, allowing himself a defeated shrug.

                “Don’t get too down, you’re in a much better position than you were when I’d snapped your legs and you were lying in the street. If nothing else, you just helped save people. That matters, at least it should to you.”

                Their conversation was interrupted by the rumble of dozens of voices trudging across what remained of the overpass, heading toward the gateway to safety that Eli had managed to open up before. Titan stepped forward, waving his arms so that people could see where to head.

                “Stay close, and be good,” Titan said. “We’ve still got a lot of people to help before this morning is over.”