"I thought you weren't going to send her out on this assignment any longer." Boyd Langton frowned at his employer, but his tone was still reserved, even polite.
"Circumstances have changed, Mr Langton." Ms. DeWitt's voice was cold, an early frost intended to kill this protest before it had fully flowered. She looked stern, a woman who did not suffer fools gladly.
The girl they were discussing looked between them, blue eyes wide as she struggled to understand. They were talking about her, weren't they? But why were they upset? Had she not been her best?
"Last time, she nearly died." Died? She knew the word, but... she looked down at herself, frowning as she examined what she could see of her body. She was fine, wasn't she? Of course she was. They couldn't be talking about her after all. She didn't remember anything like that and she'd remember if she'd nearly died. Wouldn't she?
"Nearly," Topher offered, with the goofy grin he so often wore, as though he were continually laughing at a private joke. She liked Topher and she didn't resist when he urged her to lie back in the chair.
"I assure you, Mr. Langton, that it won't happen again. She'll be fine." Ms. DeWitt turned away, conversation clearly over, and stared intently at the others on the floor below.
"At the very least," Boyd said, addressing Topher over her reclining body, "can't you give her better skills? Bad enough that you make her some kind of superhero, but why make her a second-rate one?"
"It makes her more believable, easier to trust," Topher explained. She smiled at him, watching his energetic hand gestures as he spoke. It amused her. No one else here did that.
She didn't hear the rest of the explanation, never got to hear Topher explain why he limited her skills. It didn't matter; she trusted him. She closed her eyes, relaxing as the discussion was washed away in the familiar glare of intense blue light.
When she sat up again, she was someone different, someone who didn't even remember the argument and who barely noticed the tension in the room. She didn't know these people, but she didn't feel uncomfortable with them either. It seemed like it should feel strange, but it didn't.
The woman by the window turned around and offered a reserved smile, the expression of a teacher who'd never liked her much. "Well, Stephanie, are you ready to be the Spoiler again?"
She tossed back her long blonde hair and lifted her chin, her expression determined as she met this stranger's eyes. "Yes. I've made up my mind."