The restoration of Brewster would not be a quick process. Though the Heroes had performed admirably, containing the robotic threats and responding to unexpected challenges with speed and efficiency, the fact still remained that entire city blocks were rendered unlivable amidst the destruction that had been caused. Within days, the DVA had set up temporary housing areas for those thrust from their homes. In a week, they’d brokered a deal between insurance companies and local hotels to get those impacted somewhere more stable. After the first time a city had been partially destroyed, it was a complete clusterfuck as everyone ran around trying to figure out what to do. Nowadays, however, the DVA had the process down pat.
Not that their sole concern was taking care of the humans impacted by the disaster. One by one, every Hero in a command position at the scene was brought in for debriefing. While things could have been worse, it didn’t change the fact that people had still died and millions of dollars in property damage occurred. That was the sort of aftermath the DVA couldn’t afford to shrug off and accept, meaning they went through the scenario with a fine-toothed comb, making certain that no Hero had acted rashly or used excessive force that might have exacerbated an already bad situation.
For his part, Owen’s interview was mercifully brief. Though he had brought in a Temporarily Authorized Hero Asset and destroyed a mech with only one other Hero as backup, he’d also been careful to run things through Dispatch every chance he had. No one knew better than he that what the DVA wanted the most out of this was a scapegoat, someone or thing to point to as having failed, because their other option was telling the public that even with every Hero doing their job well, incidents like this could still happen. Although it was true, that wasn’t the sort of truth that made for a happy populace. They needed their Heros to be flawless, or to have the imperfect ones cast aside. But the DVA would have to search elsewhere for its sacrificial Super, Titan had played things careful and by the book, which Dispatch would back him up on.
Lenny was waiting for him as Owen left the meeting, immediately yanking off the blue tie that was too small for his thick, muscular neck. It looked all the more ridiculous atop his Titan costume, and Owen was glad to be rid of the idiotic formality. The short agent fell into line next to him as they walked over the polished stone floor of Brewster City Hall. The DVA had set up temporary offices during the research and recovery efforts, partially to be seen around town doing their duty, and partially because it wasn’t cost-effective to fly or teleport every Hero they wanted to interview off to D.C. Neither said a word until they were clear of the building, at which point Lenny lifted his bushy eyebrows upward and cast a scrutinizing glance at his client.
“I’m clear,” Owen replied, what should have been cheer in his voice soured by the experience of telling his tale while a panel sifted through every detail, searching for fault. “Unless they find something way out of left field that I’m not even aware of, nothing will blow back on me.”
“That is quite the relief.” Lenny dug about in his pockets until he found a pair of sunglasses that were comfortable, if not terribly up-to-date with the newest fashions. Overhead, the afternoon Brewster sun beat down on them, warming the prominent bald spot on Lenny’s exposed head. “Let me tell you, with all the orders we’ve got for Titan merchandise coming in, the last thing I needed is you to be under investigation.”
“I can’t imagine that much is really moving,” Owen said.
“Are you kidding me? Between the classic Titan gear, the new stylized versions, and the print of your lifting photo going on everything from shirts to mugs, we’ve got suppliers dealing with serious backorders, and that was after I told them to stock up.”
Owen suppressed a groan at Lenny’s mention of the picture, but only barely. Evidently, amidst the brave reporters who’d ventured near the chaos of the battle was one especially intrepid photographer. That young woman was likely now a superstar at her paper, as she’d captured dozens of incredible images of the action in progress. One especially had caught on with the public, though. It was a picture of Titan as he’d lifted the mech overhead to save Hexcellent, though neither she nor Hopcules were easily visible in the shot. Instead, it just looked like he was hauling the thing up from the ground because he could, and while he wasn’t especially fond of the attention the picture was garnering, he did have to admit it was a pretty incredible image. If nothing else, the world seemed to have suddenly remembered that on top of every scandal and rumor surrounding him, Titan was one thing above all else: powerful.
“At least that will give me some spare cash while I get things up and running. Any word yet on Hexcellent’s negotiations?” Owen asked.
Lenny nodded, yanking out the keys to his car and pressing a button to unlock the doors. “Word came down while you were inside. She’s going to have to buy out Mordent’s contract with her for the name and advertising rights to the Hexcellent brand and her original summons.”
“Those mother fuckers.” Owen spat the words, although he’d known going in that she was facing a tough battle.
“Hey, let me finish, alright?” Lenny and Owen both slipped into Lenny’s car, the passenger seat moved all the way back to somewhat accommodate Owen’s mighty frame. “She has to buy out the contract on all that, but the good news is she should have plenty of cash to do it with. Mordent only locked down the summons she had when she signed on, since no one expected her to be pulling out any new ones. They tried to pull some crap about Hopcules being pre-existing, but in this case the contract fucked ‘em, since it outlined exactly what summons she had and their characteristics. Probably thought they were being slick by pinning her property down. Anyway, I tore that to shreds, and the arbiter agreed. Hexcellent has complete ownership of the Hopcules property, and merchandising rights associated with it. Which, let me tell you, just from pre-orders looks like it will be more than enough to handle the Mordent contract.”
“Good.” Owen watched as Brewster City Hall faded into the distance and they began their trek to the next destination. “And I know I’ve said it before, but thanks for handling that.”
“Consider it a personal pleasure,” Lenny replied. “That Greene prick was fun to beat. Plus, it seems like I built up a little goodwill in the PEERS community. Already had three of the bigger names approach me about representation after they heard I’d taken on Bubble Bubble as a client.”
“The legendary Lenny, working with someone other than Heroes? Turn the car around, we need to go find some reporters and alert them to the news,” Owen said.
“There is always room at my table for anyone who earns,” Lenny replied, not a trace of shame in his voice. “So, where can I drop you?”
“Mordent Holdings’ central office,” Owen replied. “While I was in there, I got some news of my own, and I shouldn’t wait to share it with my team.”