The motorcycle’s roar echoes off the cement garage like thunder. It speeds inside. Behind it, the thick titanium door thumps down to become an impassable boulder for any who follow. At the ramp’s bottom, the bike skids to a halt just before it hits the pebble gravel, the squeals joining the cacophony.
The engine kills, and soon, the only sounds are its winding-down putter, deep, adrenaline-filled breaths, and the clap of rubber shoe soles against pavement.
“Well done, Spence,” the French voice intones, the steps ceasing beside the bike.
Spencer swings his leg over its side as he grabs his mask by its curved beak, lifting it off his red, sweat-spotted, grinning face. “Thanks, Jean. Nice job finding them.”
“My pleasure.” The two walk through the garage together towards where it connects to the mansion in which they grew up together, Jean’s mom Spencer’s au pair. Over the years, they cultivated different skill sets they now use to catch the metropolis’ criminals. While Spencer uses the wall of gadgets and his martial arts skills to capture, Jean is his eyes in the sky, sitting at a desk of buttons and a 10-foot screen to track the prey.
“Do we have any updates on the situation?” From his neck, Spencer unlatches the cape made of paper-thin Kevlar and carob-colored fabric, its edges cut to look like feathers. With a flourish, it and his mask land on his mannequin body double.
“Police have all the robbers in custody thanks to the Eagle,” Jean replies.
“Perfect.” He begins to shed the remaining pieces of his armor—first the leg guards, then the arms—taking him down to a t-shirt and shorts. “Then that means the Eagle is taking a day of R and R.”
“A day?” Jean questions, like he doesn’t quite believe what he’s hearing. Spencer’s never taken a day off, saying if crime didn’t stop, he couldn’t either.
“Yep, and I think the Eye should do the same. The police can handle it for 24 hours.”
Considering the work Spencer’s done on their behalf, they should have enough energy stored to handle whatever menace approaches. He can’t remember the last time he’s had more than an hour to himself, and since he’s thrown a hundred criminals into jail in the last three months, he thinks it’s well deserved. It’s also what the SSA—Superhero Support Association—recommends to help manage the weight of the fame and responsibility. Too many had veered from vigilante to villain without it.
Jean nods towards the floor. “Well, if you’re sure.”
“I am.” He removes the last piece of his suit and climbs the corkscrew staircase to the ground floor where he collapses into his pillow-topped bed for the first stage of what he’s dubbed Eagle’s Day Off.
When he wakes, he migrates to the hot tub to watch a replay of the baseball game he missed last night. As the jets knead out the knots in his back, he sips on a Coke and through the shade of his Ray-Bans watches his favorite team clinch the series. He sighs in complete placidity, as relaxed as a dog getting a never-ending belly rub. Nothing could—
“Spence?” He leans his head back on the cushion. On the deck, Jean twists his fingers, as if he’s playing cat’s cradle with them.
“There’s been a—”
Spencer sticks his hand up in the air. “Nope, I’m off.”
“Fine,” he mutters, and returns to the home for what Spencer hopes is the rest of the day.
He reappears like a Dickens haunting almost every hour, bringing a new tumult with him. During a race of digitized cars, Jean tells him of a department store hold up. On the elliptical, it’s illegal dumping into the sewer system. In the middle of reading meditations, a string of semi hijackings.
Each time, Spencer sends him away, telling him he needs to recharge, and can’t always be there. Each time, Jean begrudgingly leaves.
Once more, at five at night, during Sudoku, Jean runs into the room, the embodiment of a complete frenzy.
“Spence, Electroda, she took down the power grid. The city’s completely dark. They’re flashing the Eagle Beacon. It’s a disaster. They need you.”
Spencer tucks his pen into the pages. “If the power grid is down, how is the beacon going?”
“They have you on battery power,” he says. With a frustrated bellow, Spencer throws the Sudoku across the marble floor.
“One day! I just wanted one day!” He propels himself up from the couch and towards the stairs. “But fine! If they can’t do it themselves, I guess we’ll have to! Let’s go!”
He suits up in and takes off in the Turbo Talon, Jean guiding him from the suburbs to peninsula grid. He fights and flies. He restrains Electroda and restores power.
Within 2 hours he’s home, sitting in front of his computer in a chat with the SSG. Sharkman, Hail Crusher, Illumigirl, and Slugger all appear by webcam, dressed in their gear.
“It’s like, I know I signed up for this, but can they not do anything themselves anymore?” Spencer asks as he props his masked face on his leather glove.
“I know the feeling.” Illumnigirl nods, her suit flashing to her voice. “I think we’ve created a dependency and they’re no longer as equipped to handle situations on their own because they assume we’re going to be there.” Her eye flits back and forth between the others on screen. “Maybe we should create a list of rights.”
“I’ll talk to Motoman.” Hail Crusher pulls out a yellow pad of paper. “I think his secret identity is a lawyer.”
“Please.” Spencer leans back in his chair and spins, feathers fluttering at his feet. Out the window, a bright light catches his eye. It’s the damn beacon. He slams his fists onto the desk, shaking the computer. “Come on!”