Chapter Seventeen – Take Me to Your Leader

Agatha had stopped at her apartment before going back to headquarters to change into her supersuit, but was met with a surprise. She was mildly concerned when she saw workers in front of the Thrilling Three Towers. They were carting Dynaguy's furniture and personal belongings out of his tower, which wasn't really that disturbing. It was admittedly understandable, if not depressing. It was like the final blow, the final call to reality: Dynaguy was gone, and would never come back. What did strike Agatha as strange was that another set of workers was carrying more furniture in. The Phylange was watching all of this from the side near a lamppost, arms folded, with a severe look on his face. Agatha slowly and silently walked up to him, and it took a few seconds for him to notice that she was there.

"Oh…hey there, Apogee. Finally got out of your apartment?" he asked absently.

"Be nice," she pinched his arm. "What's all this about?"

"Apparently we're The Thrilling Three again, because the NSA assigned someone new to be leader," he explained. "He's moving in right now." He gestured towards the workers with a small flourish.

Agatha furrowed her brow in confusion. "Are they allowed to do that?" She was mildly perturbed that a government agency could decide their fates.

"Apparently," The watched in silence as the rest of the furniture was carried in (or out) and when it was all done, the workers asked The Phylange to sign a few forms, which he did. They then promptly got into their big moving truck and left. "Well, things will certainly be more interesting from now on, eh Apogee?"

She nodded her head slightly in reply, and made her way into her respective tower. As she waited for the elevator to reach the top floor, she realized that she hadn't asked The Phylange who the new leader was. Agatha resolved to ask him later, not expecting him to be at the Towers yet. "Apogee."

Somehow, she knew all along that it would be him. The NSA liked being ironic like that; they always put the weirdest supers together—their sadism could be seen mostly in the treatment of Blazestone—first paired up with her polar opposite, and then paired up with Universal Man, one of the most egotistical of supers. Agatha had been prepared to dislike whoever the NSA chose as their new leader, mainly because she thought no one could replace Dynaguy. She felt terrible because she no longer felt that way.

"Gazerbeam." He was standing near her console, looking around at things. He'd never been to the Thrilling Three Towers before, so she could understand him wanting to take a look around. Agatha walked towards him with confidence. He didn't ask her why she hadn't come to work, and he didn't say some sarcastic remark on how she had finally left her apartment. That was one thing Agatha liked about him: he was considerate. Gazerbeam knew the things that needed to be said, and said only those things that were completely necessary. She supposed that was why humor and sarcasm were totally unknown to him. "You're the new leader, are you?" she asked, voice tone completely free of malice.

This seemed to console him a little, and he straightened himself up. "Yes, the NSA called me this morning."

Agatha tilted her head to one side. "They could've been a little more understanding. It's only been one day," Since Dynaguy died.

Gazerbeam took a step toward her. "I know, that's what I said." He paused for a few seconds before continuing, "…but the NSA means for the Thrilling Three to be a national group, dealing with internal and external affairs, so they wanted somebody in immediately."

She had to admit, there was a slight surge of adrenaline that went through her when she heard that The Thrilling Three was to be a national defense team. This was quickly followed by guilt; Agatha felt bad that she was feeling so excited after Dynaguy's death. "When's our first assignment?" she asked tentatively.

"Our first assignment is Crescentia," Gazerbeam growled, clenching his left fist. Agatha started, having thought that he would forget about what he'd said the other day.

"She's not a national threat, is she?" Agatha asked, a quizzical look on her face. Or was there something else that Gazerbeam wasn't telling her…?

"She's a threat to you," he snapped. "And that should be good enough reason for us to go after her. I don't care about anything else. As long as she's out there on the streets, you're not safe."

This made Agatha angry, though she was also surprised at how hard his words had hit her. "What am I, some damsel in distress? I'm a superhero for crying out loud! I'm not just some woman!"

"You're my woman!" Gazerbeam yelled, interrupting her. Stunned beyond all belief, Agatha was forced into silence. He had never yelled at her before. Never. "You're my…the only, most important person in my life." Gazerbeam slowly turned around, his back turned to her, as if admitting this made him seem weaker somehow. "Please understand that I am not trying to underestimate your powers. Crescentia is just…I have to deal with her on my own."

Agatha took a step towards him and put her hand on his shoulder, gently turning him back around so he'd face her. "Hey…she's my archnemisis," she laughed softly. Gazerbeam didn't say anything; he only averted his eyes. Agatha took a few steps towards the windows, putting a hand against the cold glass and resting her forehead against her hand. "You know, I went out to eat with Stormicide today. I was feeling really terrible for a number of reasons, and she told me a few things that…really made me feel better." She glanced towards Gazerbeam, who had looked up slightly. "Heroes never really die."

"Agatha."

Agatha whirled around. Gazerbeam was facing her, his eyes meeting hers. She walked slowly up to him and placed a finger on his lips. "Shh…I know that my powers aren't the greatest out there. I'll be the first to admit it." Gazerbeam gently grasped her two hands by the wrists and ceremoniously kissed her fingertips, saying nothing. It gave Agatha the courage to continue. "…But what's important is that I conquer my enemy with my own two hands, you know?" she took a step backwards; her hands were released. She had to admit that she missed the warmth. "I want to be remembered for what I did, not for what I wished I could do. I finally believe in me…can't you believe in me, too?"

"Agatha, I…" Gazerbeam turned away. "You must know that under any other circumstances, I would support you wholeheartedly. I would let you face the enemy the way you want to, because I truly believe in you, as well as in your powers." He paused. "But this is different."

"Why is it different?" she pressed.

"Crescentia…Melissa…she's my step sister," he choked out after a long pause. It seemed like this was said with great difficulty, and there was another long, awkward silence before he sighed in frustration. "We'll do this together, ok?"

"I was going to…take her on during the new moon." Agatha admitted. "It's in a week."

"Meaning we have a week to prepare."

"…yes." Agatha replied uncomfortably. "She really is a national threat, isn't she?"

Gazerbeam sighed again. "Only because of the jewels. Those are…under maximum security, and are very important. The fact that she's after them makes this a very big deal. In fact, she could actually cause the moon to crash into the earth, so I guess this is an international thing, not just a US problem."

"Then why aren't the Phantasmics—" Agatha answered her own question and covered her mouth with her hand. Crescentia was also the reason why Gazerbeam left Everseer's group. What had happened between all of them? "You'll tell me someday, right?" she asked. He sighed for the upteenth time that day, and Agatha couldn't help running up to him and hugging him from behind. She rested her head against his back. "You're like a helpless little stray puppy, you know? I just can't leave you alone."

Gazerbeam turned around in her arms to face her, and wrapped his arms around her waist. "Thank God for that." He said, just before resting his head on her shoulder.