Spark didn’t like bleeding. It wasn’t something she had a lot of practice in, after all. So having a trickle of blood coming from her nose after a punch left her more than just a touch cross. Jackal growled low in his throat and launched himself off a building at Photon, aiming to grab him. Photon moved out of the way but Turbo was there with a blinding series of punches. It did nothing. They could barely land a hit on him. He was the greatest superhero the world had ever known, a paragon of good and right and justice. How were a group of teenagers supposed to beat him? Spark wiped the blood off her face and threw a shield around Turbo before her dad could do anything to hurt her friend.
“Dad!” She hovered in the air, cape flapping behind her in the breeze. “Is this what Mom would want?”
Photon rounded on Spark, abandoning his pursuit of the smaller speedster.
“She wouldn’t want you fighting me, pumpkin. You know that as well as I do.”
“Would she want you doing this?”
She gestured around at the city. The three teens had been trying to contain the damage, keep the civilians clear of Photon’s rage. It had only worked so well. A fire was ripping through the city now, started by one of Photon’s attacks, and there was nothing Spark could do about it. The time it would take to fight the fire was time taken away from stopping her father from causing more of the same in the pursuit of his mad goals.
“I get it, Dad. I really do. I miss Mom. I miss her like crazy. But you can’t just…what? Kill people until you get killed or get her back? That’s not how it works.”
“You don’t know what I’ve done, what I have to do. But I will get your mother back home with us, Jessica. Even if I have to go through you to do it.”
Spark froze in midair. He’d used her real name. In costume. Her real name out where anyone could hear it. And who wouldn’t be watching the throwdown of the century? Photon and Spark, everyone knew they were father and daughter, and here they were brawling at high noon over the city. Then a fist connected with her chest and Spark flew backwards, slamming into a building. She smashed through the window, glass spraying everywhere. And this time, she didn’t get up. In all her years of combat training, in all her experience with villains and heroes alike, nothing had ever hit her like that. Laying there, Spark was pretty sure that she had broken something. What, she didn’t know. She’d never broken any bones before. The sensation was wholly new and she didn’t like it one bit. Then a new thought slammed into her mind fully formed. What Photon had said. She couldn’t think of him as Dad right now. Not until this was over. But he’d said something. What he’d done. He’d made a deal with someone, that had to be it. Gritting her teeth against the pain, Spark tried to focus on the list of names. Who could have the power to raise the dead? Or at least be powerful enough to convince Photon that they could. Then one name rose to the surface. The sorcerer who called himself Faust. Slowly, Jessica called Spark got to her feet and winced, one hand holding her side where the pain was focused. She would have to find Faust. And hope Photon didn’t kill her friends while she searched. As she flew out and zipped off, she coughed and stared in horror at the blood on her hand. It looked like she would have to worry about a few more things than that. Like not dying before she stopped Photon.