Home > Supernova(5)

Author: Marissa Meyer

“Genissa,” said Thunderbird, stepping to the front of the balcony. “You have not been given clearance from the healers to—”

“Screw the healers,” yelled Genissa. “What are they going to do? Bring my powers back?” She snapped her fingers—as if ice crystals might burst from their tips—but of course, nothing happened. Her scowl deepened. “You said yourself. The effects of Agent N are irreversible. So I don’t see much point in lounging around in a stuffy waiting room just so someone can pat me on the head and tell me it could have been worse. I could be dead.” She paused in the middle of the room, where the red-tiled R had been decimated by one of Aftershock’s quakes, and let her gaze travel around the gathered Renegades. “But let’s all stop and ask ourselves … really, would that be worse?” She returned her attention to the Council. “I’m not convinced.”

“Genissa—” started the Captain.

“Frostbite,” Genissa snapped in return, her nostrils flaring. She drew herself to her full height, her bob of white-blonde hair swinging against her shoulders. “We were here, on duty, protecting your organization. Your headquarters. I believed in the Renegades. I would have done anything to protect what we stand for. And look where it got me. Where it got us!” She gestured behind her at Mack and Trevor. “We stood up against Nightmare. We risked our lives, because that’s what superheroes do. But it wasn’t exactly a fair fight, was it? Because somehow, she had Agent N. She had your weapon.”

Nova’s jaw tensed, irritation flooding through her. How convenient for Genissa to skip over the fact that she, too, had Agent N at her disposal—and illegally, as the Renegades weren’t yet supposed to have access to it. Nova guessed Frostbite had swiped some during their training sessions, and she hadn’t hesitated to shoot Nightmare with a dart full of the stuff last night. If Nova hadn’t been wearing the Vitality Charm, she would be just as powerless now as they were.

“I want to know how,” Genissa continued. “How is it that you manage to develop a substance that can sap our enemies of their powers, only for it to fall into an enemy’s hands before we’ve even made a public announcement about it?”

Captain Chromium cleared his throat loudly. “Gen—Frostbite poses a fair question, and we will be investigating this at length.”

“Oh, you’ll be investigating it?” Genissa flung her arms to the sides and faced the crowd. Though the Renegades closest to her backed away, it was clear that they were hanging on her every word. Expressions were full of pity for the three former prodigies. To lose their gifts—it was what they had all feared from the start. “Just like you investigated Nightmare’s death after the Detonator supposedly blew her up?” Genissa said. “Or how about your investigation into the death of Ace Anarchy? Forgive me if I question your ability to figure out how Nightmare had access to Agent N, much less how you plan on keeping anyone else from getting it and turning it against us, just like she did.” Her voice rose as broken glass crunched beneath her feet. “It’s time we face the truth. Our leaders are incompetent. The Council is playing with things they don’t understand, things they have no real control over, and worst of all, they are risking our lives and our abilities in order to do it!”

Nova traded stunned looks with Adrian. But while she imagined that Adrian was shocked that anyone would dare speak to the beloved Council that way, she was shocked to think that she actually agreed with Genissa on something.

“That’s enough!” barked Blacklight, but he was silenced by the Captain lifting an arm across his chest, blocking him from moving to the front of the balcony.

“No, let her speak,” said the Captain. Though his jaw was tense, there was compassion in his gaze as it shifted between Genissa, Mack, and Trevor. “We do carry some responsibility for what happened here last night. Tell me, what can we do to make amends?”

“Amends?” Genissa laughed dryly. “That’s hysterical.” Shaking her head, she reached for the band wrapped around her forearm. “Honestly, I don’t care what the Renegades do after this. I’m not one of you anymore. My time as a superhero is over.” Peeling the band from her skin, she threw it at her feet. Mack and Trevor did the same, tossing their wristbands into the rubble. “I hope everyone here realizes that they’re nothing but pawns to you. Just a bunch of pretty foot soldiers to do your bidding, so you don’t have to worry about a bunch of pathetic villains ever showing up to take your power away. Or worse … those pesky vigilantes. But let’s face it, we didn’t become superheroes to play by the rules. We became superheroes because we believed in our ability to change this world for the better, at any cost. Well…” She wriggled her fingers. “Almost any cost.”

Genissa marched through the lobby toward the main staircase. The crowd parted for her and her cohorts. “All I know,” she called over her shoulder, “is that any prodigy who willingly runs around with Agent N strapped to their belt is a damned idiot.”

No one moved to stop her or Mack or Trevor as they reached the balcony. Genissa paused once, seemingly surprised to have only two minions in her wake. She found Raymond Stern—Stingray—in the lobby, unmoved from where he had been standing at her side. A sneer twitched across her face, then she and her companions shoved through the waiting glass doors, letting in a blinding burst of daylight. An excited roar from the crowd outside greeted them, but was hushed the moment the doors shut behind them.





NOVA HAD BEEN to Adrian’s home once before, and she hadn’t fully recovered from the experience. Not only because this was where he had kissed her for the first time, a memory that still made her knees weak, but because there was something painfully unnerving about standing outside a palatial mansion and knowing to the core of her being how much she did not belong there. He lived in the old Gatlon City mayor’s mansion, with more square footage than all the row houses on Wallowridge combined, and a lawn spanning almost an entire city block.

She tried not to think too much about it as she approached the gate and buzzed for entry. A device on a brick pillar scanned her wristband, confirming her identity, before the wrought-iron gate swung open.

By the time she reached the end of the walkway, Adrian was waiting for her on his front porch, framed by Grecian pillars and large urns with topiaries sprouting from them. The last time she’d been here, he’d been wearing sweats. Now he was donning his Renegade uniform, and the difference in his demeanor was startling.

This was a business meeting.

Still, Adrian was smiling as she approached. “The others are already downstairs. Come on in.” He held his arm toward the open door, ushering her into the foyer.

It was warm inside the house. Almost uncomfortably warm. The sort of heat put off by fireplaces in the dead of winter, first chasing away the chill in the air, before making everyone forget there had ever been a chill to begin with. True enough—as Nova walked past the formal parlor, she spied a fire raging inside a tiled fireplace. With sweat already sprouting on the back of her neck, she unzipped her hooded sweatshirt.

“My dads think it makes the place feel cozier,” said Adrian, almost apologetically. “It’s a lot cooler downstairs. Come on.”

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