Beyond the Sphere

The Green Gladiator, Stealth Gentleman, Crimson Songbird and Parrot Girl met in the Pyramid Lounge, as they’d arranged earlier that day, in their civilian identities. Viridian had opened a psychic link with the Stealth Gentleman, and was able to hear their words, and relay the conversation to Icewind and Sia Klath, who were gathered with him aboard Viridian’s spaceship on the dark side of the Moon.

“What can I get you all?” The waitress asked, as she approached, her face lit up by the brightest of smiles.

“Just a jug of water, and four glasses, please” Stealth asked, returning the smile.

“Nothing to eat?” the waitress jotted their order down on a small notepad, still smiling broadly.

Stealth Gentleman still smiled back as he shook his head. The waitress walked away and he looked back at the group. “OK. What do we do now?” he asked, the smile instantly becoming a frown.

“We’re still EFB members, regardless of what Reide has said.” Crimson Songbird commented.

“Well, you all are,” Parrot Girl commented, “although I’m still an honorary member, I suppose.”

“What do you mean?” Green Gladiator asked, somewhat confused. “Reide sent us all packing!”

“He did, but he obviously hasn’t read our by-laws.” Crimson Songbird continued.

“The Songbird is correct” Viridian said through the Stealth Gentleman. “All members remain members until they and only they decide to leave. They can’t be forced out of their place in the team.”

“But by us all walking, doesn’t that mean we have left?” Green Gladiator was still confused.

“No. Only by us declaring that we have officially left the team means we have left.” Songbird added.

“Even if we’re rubbish?” Gladiator asked, thinking of his recent performance on the team.

“We are a team to help everyone, Gladiator.” Stealth said, “Even ourselves.”

“OK. I think I get that now; but what does that mean now?” Gladiator had a lightbulb moment and felt very relieved… confused but relieved.

“Here you go,” The smiling waitress returned with a large jug full of water, and half full again with ice. Four glasses had been placed around the jug on the tray. “Would you like anything to eat? Our Aztec Burgers are out of this world.”

“Aztec Burgers?” Gladiator was confused again. “I thought this was an Egyptian themed place?”

“There are pyramids all over the place, sir,” the waitress answered with a smile although quite robotically, “not only in Egypt.” Her smile never left her face.

“I see. I just thought… never mind.” Gladiator felt his cheeks begin to burn. Songbird looked at him and smiled back, with a wink. “We’re fine with the food,” she replied to the waitress, who walked away leaving them to pour the water themselves.

“So what do we do now?” Gladiator asked, realising he was being of no help to the group whatsoever.

“I think we should just observe what is going on for now.” Stealth said. “Let Reide think we’ve gone, but just keep an eye on things.”

“Give him too much time and he’ll read those by-ways.” Gladiator felt proud of his comment. Crimson Songbird smiled once again.

“Good point, Glad. We need to give him enough rope to hang himself with, and not enough to tie us all into knots. The by-laws are written very clearly, so if he does check them it won’t take him long to find this clause.”

“I don’t think he’ll read them.” Stealth replied. “I think he’s setting up his own regime and not even thinking about us having our own regulations before today. But still, I think we need to find ways to keep him busy so he doesn’t have time to find them.”

“I have a way,” Sia Klath said through Viridian and in turn Stealth, “But it may cause some structural damage to the headquarters. It will probably also alienate me even further. But this is only one way of many more that are needed.”

“Whatever it is, Sia, do it.” Stealth replied. “Don’t tell us anything more. We should all act covertly. Cause frustration, delay. But remember our colleagues. We can’t tell them what we’re doing, but we mustn’t do anything that would harm them.”

“Agreed.” Songbird said, and together they all repeated “Agreed!”

Songbird looked at Parrot Girl, who now had a sad look on her face. “What’s wrong, PG – we’re doing this for the good of the team.”

“I know,” Parrot Girl replied, in a whisper, “It’s just that I have to lie to Firetop again.”

“You don’t need to take part, Parrot Girl,” Stealth said. “With you being an honorary member, you can step back. We wouldn’t hold it against you.”

“No, I know,” Parrot Girl said. “And that’s just it. I know. I’m already involved.”

“Reide will probably not be expecting us to join our own team,” Songbird commented. “But I think he will be expecting us to try something. He may look like a bumbling idiot, but it seems he knows what he’s doing.”

“I agree,” Stealth replied. “He’s obviously got a plan, but for what else I have no idea. Let us lie low for a couple of days, and then see what we can do to cause a little disturbance.”

“This actually sounds like fun.” Gladiator said, smiling broadly.

“But this is very serious stuff,” Stealth replied sternly. The Gladiator’s cheeks began to burn again.

Green Gladiator left the EFB Building and punched the brick wall in frustration, hurting his knuckles in the process. “Owwww!!!” He wailed, swiftly looking around to see if anyone had either seen or heard him. “I’m such an idiot!” He muttered to himself, under his breath whilst massaging his hand. A discarded drink can lay on the pavement ahead of him as he walked, so he kicked it in anger, intending for it to move along the pavement, but somehow veering off to the left and into the wall. Once again he looked around for observers. Unfortunately, this time there was one.

“Looks like someone’s having a bad day…!” the scarlet-haired woman said, with an enigmatic smile. Dazzling green eyes shone in the evening light. “I can help you with that, if you like…”

Green Gladiator looked at the woman who was leaning against the corner of the building at the entrance of the alleyway that led to the Mid Recorder’s main entrance. He noticed her eyes first, then her hair, then the tight black silk dress she was wearing. His gaze continued down her legs (covered in fishnets) to her feet, delicately placed inside what looked to him like a pair of expensive shoes. He brought his attention back to her face very quickly. He caught a glimpse of his mask in the corner of his eye and thanked himself for not flinging it off, which was going to be his next move.

“Are you going to a fancy dress party?” the woman asked, looking at the Gladiator’s uniform. “What are you going as? Don’t tell me – a bush!” She giggled.

“A b-bush?” Gladiator was taken aback. “Do I look like a bush?”

“Well, you’re all green… with these bits bulging out here and there.” Gladiator noticed she was looking at the tops of his arms and his shoulders. “But you seem to be a little firm to be a bush. Let me try again. I know… you’re going as Envy!”

“Envy? How can you go from a bush to envy? I’m the Green Gladiator – the superhero.”

“Of course you are sweetness.” The woman giggled. “I’ll go to the party with you. You can be Envy, and I can be Rage.”

“Rage? Envy and Rage? No. Hang on… I’m NOT going to a fancy dress party!”

“I know you’re not, sweetness. Of course I know who you are. I do live in this town, you know. Can I take a selfie with you?”

“No. No selfies. No fancy dresses. Nothing.” Green Gladiator said sternly.

“I’ve upset you now.” The woman’s expression changed from excitedly happy to morosely sad.

“No. You haven’t upset me. You haven’t done anything. You…” Gladiator bit his lip to stop himself saying anything further.

“I can cheer you up, you know.” The woman’s friendly smile reappeared, her eyes big and bright again. Gladiator noticed something glistening in them; a pulsating light, pulsating at a constant rate… almost hypnotic. He quickly looked away, and over to the other side of the road to see if he could see where the light was being reflected from. The buildings were on the shaded side of the road, but there was nothing that would cause her eyes to sparkle the way they did. “Look at me!” The woman demanded, her voice filled with rage this time.

“I don’t know who you are, Miss, but I’m not getting a very good feeling about all of this.” Gladiator may not have had any superpowers like most of the others in the EFB, but he always trusted his instincts.

“I’ve told you who I am. Not ‘Miss’, but Rage!” She grabbed hold of Gladiator’s shoulders and tried to pull him around to look at her. He was too strong, and instead leant forwards, effortlessly lifting her off the ground. Gladiator had misjudged his stance however, and stumbled forwards, causing Rage to flip over his head and then fall headfirst down to the ground. Gladiator managed to somehow catch her before she landed, but in the process fell on top of her.

“You IDIOT!” Rage shouted “Get off me! What do you think you are doing?”

“I’m sorry. I fell…” Gladiator couldn’t believe what had happened. “You caught me off guard… off balance. Are you OK? Are you hurt?” He bumbled up from the ground and helped Rage up.

“I’m NOT hurt.” Rage now had a seriously sulky look upon her face. “And look what you have done to my dress.” She pointed to a large tear that ran from her thigh up the side to halfway up her body. “I don’t believe it! My underwear’s on show. And I’ve a hole in my stocking. Thank you Mr Green. Thank you very much.”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean…”

“Stuff it!” Rage interrupted him. With her right hand, she tried to hold the tear of her dress together. She glared at Gladiator, looking squarely into his eyes. This time, her irises were a very deep green, almost black. “You’re just ridiculous. Just because you’re having a bad day doesn’t mean that you have to inflict it onto everybody else. Just get a grip. And get a better costume while you’re at it. Honestly.”

Gladiator stood open-mouthed as he watched the strange woman stomp away, stopping momentarily to take off her shoes, and then run around the next corner and out of sight. He thought about going after her, just to make sure she was alright, but then decided against it. He thought that he’d probably find himself being arrested for stalking her or something. “Besides, it isn’t dark, and she was in the alley on her own as I walked by before, so I think she can take care of herself.” He kicked the can again, this time causing it to veer right into the road rather than ahead along the pavement, and into the path of an oncoming double-decker bus.

“Oi! Idiot!” shouted the driver through the open window.

“Sorry!” Gladiator waved and rolled his eyes, shaking his head. He sighed. He caught a glimpse of his reflection in a window as he walked passed, noticing how ridiculous he looked in the mask and leather outfit he had on. He stopped and looked at himself a little closer. “It takes more than just muscle, leather and a mask to make a superhero. And I have to walk home looking like this. Maybe I should just give it up for good.” He laughed out loud at the evening’s events. “And I’m now talking to myself.” He looked around one more time, but once again there was nobody there to see him. With his head down and shoulders hunched forwards, he walked towards the High Street, not noticing the red-haired woman step out from a doorway after he’d walked by.

Green Gladiator and Rage

“Lycralad, take a seat here, beside me.” Raymond tapped on the cushion on the two-seater velvet sofa that had been installed in his new office. “So tell me, what do you think of this new office of mine?”

Lycralad squeezed himself into the space between Raymond and the arm of the sofa, aware that Raymond was deliberately encroaching onto his space.

“It looks OK,” Lycralad began to say.

Raymond interrupted. “It’s amazing what money can buy nowadays, isn’t it? Those workmen were given until the end of the week to finish this office, and just because I paid them a, erm, little bit extra, they worked constantly and thoroughly overnight and have finished it for today. Obviously, I had to pay them a little more for doing such an erm wondrous job, and I have told them to make sure that they take the rest of the week off as a goodwill gesture. I’ve even paid for the foreman and the main guys to have a few days away overseas – all expenses paid, of course. They were happy to take me up on the offer!”

“I’m sure they were,” Lycralad commented, although he didn’t feel entirely sure. Raymond pressed himself closer to him, and placed his left hand onto Lycra’s right knee. Lycra tried his best not to flinch, but he didn’t manage it.

“Now now, my boy,” Raymond sneered, “No need to erm be afraid. I have a little proposition for you, and depending on your choice you can either stay or leave the Elite Force of Britain. First though, I have something for you to watch. Stay seated here, and do not say a word.”

Raymond walked over to his desk at the other side of the office, and pushed a button on his console. Lycralad moved over slightly on the sofa, still feeling uncomfortable about what was happening. “Green Gladiator, please come into my office.” Raymond said, in his gruff voice. He looked over to Lycralad, smiled, winked, and then looked over at the door as it opened. Green Gladiator walked in, and nodded towards Lycra, who smiled back and discreetly shrugged.

“Sit down there, please.” Raymond pointed at the chair opposite his desk. The Gladiator now sat with his back towards Lycralad, but Raymond had him in his full sight. “Green is not my favourite colour, I must say.” Raymond looked repulsed as he eyed the Gladiator’s uniform up and down. “And I erm need to make changes to the team, to make it more erm streamlined. I’ve already dismissed one green member, the alien, Verdian,”

“Viridian,” the Gladiator said, helpfully.

“Do not interrupt. I am speaking.” Raymond’s face changed into a furious red colour, his eyes appearing like pinholes behind his glasses. “Now, before you so rudely interrupted me, I shall cut to the chase. Your days with the EFB are over. You are ordered to get out within the hour, and do not discuss this with anybody. This is in your new contract, which you signed, in effect, by calling into the headquarters today. The same goes for you, Lycralad,” Raymond looked up and winked at him once again, totally ignoring Green Gladiator who was sat before him. “What are you sitting there for? You’ve had your instructions, now get out.”

Green Gladiator stood up, taken aback. He glanced over to Lycralad, who too was shocked. Lycralad bit his bottom lip, and mouthed ‘sorry’ but Raymond noticed. “Not a word!” He shouted, his voice now filled with rage. “Gladiator – get out now before I have the EFB escort you out.”

Lycralad stood, and started walking over to the door to follow the Gladiator out of the office.

“Where are you going, young man?” Raymond’s voice had softened again.

“You said the same goes for me, Mr Reide. I’m getting out.”

“No. No. You misinterpreted my words. Ha ha ha! No. You, erm, aren’t going anywhere. Well, depending, that is. No, the same applies to you not saying a word. Shut the door. We have a new confidentiality clause in the contracts, which all members of the erm EFB sign automatically upon entering this building.”

“You aren’t very fa…”

“Silence! I am speaking, Lycralad. And what kind of name is that? I’ll have to get that changed. The connotations of it are just unbearable. I can’t have you linked to a name like that. No. I need you to be my erm personal assistant.”

“Me? A PA?”

“I asked you not to interrupt. You can speak when I allow you and not before. And no, not my PA, my assistant. My Tea Boy. You have control over your uniform, don’t you?”

Lycralad just looked at Raymond, wondering where this was all going.

“DON’T YOU?!?” Raymond snapped causing Lycralad to step backwards one step. “Er, yes…” Lycralad didn’t know really whether to answer or not, but decided to risk it.

“Good. Now you understand me. I think I’m getting to erm understand you more. With your power, I would like you to transform your uniform into an apron whenever I call you here to the office, to make myself a cup of tea. This may be at any time, so you must be at my beck and call.”

Lycralad stood and looked blankly forwards, his mouth open.

“It is that or you can join your Green Gladiator friend and get out of the EFB. I know exactly what I want you to do, and I have a feeling,” Raymond winked once again at Lycralad, “you know what you want to do as well.” Raymond’s eyes moved down to Lycra’s chest. Instinctively, Lycralad folded his arms across himself, and glanced back at the new controller. He thought for a moment.

“I’ll do it,” Lycralad said. “I’m not sure about the apron thing,” “its erm all part of the deal.” Raymond interrupted, “I knew you’d be in. Better in than out, wouldn’t you say?” He winked once again, and smirked with a sneer.

Lycralad said nothing.

“OK, then, my boy. Go and make me a cup of tea, and then you can go up to the gym or whatever it is you do to keep your body in such fine form. The kettle’s in the kitchen over there – that little room on the left.”

Lycralad walked into the small kitchen, and set to work on his new job with the EFB. He decided there and then that he would stay for the way how Raymond treated Green Gladiator and the others, watching, listening and eventually getting to grips with what was actually going on. This nasty man was in no way an ideal candidate to be running the EFB, and Lycra was determined to find something, anything, that would bring about his downfall.

On one side, Lycralad, Firetop, Invisible Charlie and Muriel Magnificent; on the other, the Cloud, Crimson Songbird, Green Gladiator and a rather strange-looking man with an ill-fitting suit, bad hair and a gruff voice. At the top of the table sat Tracy Major, the Prime Minister. Several chairs remained empty around the large meeting room table, but not all EFB members were in the headquarters when the meeting was called.

“Thank you for meeting at such short notice, heroes.” Tracy began. “I’d like to introduce you to Raymond Reide who has been appointed as my Controller for Superhero Teams. He is a member of my parliament, serving the Gwynnfennyferwanwey and Wesh constituency in Wales. He has many years experience as a member of government, and I feel he is ideally suited for this new position. I created this after a number of incidents, as you are aware, when unregulated superhero teams have apparently run amok and became more of a hindrance than a help to the larger community. Mr Reide will report into the Communities Minister, but will have his own department within government to assist with the running of every superhero team in the country. With the Elite Force of Britain being the premier team of the country, I felt it prudent to introduce you to each other personally. That, and to let you know that he will have his own office here within the EFB headquarters so he can be directly contacted and found by any of the other UK superhero teams.”

“Erm, thank you, erm Prime Minister,” Raymond Reide said, after noticing Tracy nod towards him. “I’m erm going to introduce a few erm changes, to all teams, not just this one, but this one will be the first. Erm, start at the top, as the erm saying goes.”

The gathered heroes sat and looked on, not saying a word.

“Obviously, erm, some of the changes will be quite erm big, but once the erm dust settles and things are more erm streamlined, you will all see the erm benefits. I will be speaking to you all individually erm with regards to the changes and erm how they affect you.”

“Erm Verdian, is it?” Raymond met Viridian in the doorway of the EFB Headquarters.

“I am Viridian.” Replied Viridian as he towered above the new superhero controller.

“Viridian. Yes. Yes. I erm do apologise for the noise and dust around here, but I’ve instructed the builders here to get started on my new suite of offices on this floor and for them to finish it by the end of the week. As the work is erm still incomplete, please come into the kitchen with me, so we can have a chat.”

“Very well, Mr Reide.” Viridian followed Raymond into the kitchen. A laptop computer was already set up on the table, and a stack of brown envelopes was beside it.

“Please, take an erm seat.” Raymond pointed to the chair opposite where he was sitting. “This won’t take long.”

Viridian sat, and began to say “Mr Reide, I know why…” when Raymond held up his hand and bluntly said, “I’m speaking.” Viridian looked at Raymond who was staring blankly and without emotion back at him. “As the new controller of the Elite Force of Britain, you are aware, I’m sure, that I have to erm make changes to make the team more efficient. I feel that in order to make the team great, we need to be less reliant upon erm… outsiders such as yourself. So, effective immediately, you are no longer a member of the Elite Force of erm Britain.”

“I…” Viridian was stopped once again.

“Speaking. You have an hour to clear your room here at the headquarters and then leave. The access codes will be changed once you are outside of the building. Our code of practice forbids you to speak of this conversation. Could you send erm Sia Klath in to see me?” He shuffled papers for a couple of seconds, and then looked up at Viridian, who was yet to move. Raymond gestured with his thumb over his right shoulder, and upon looking back at the papers said, “The door to the kitchen is there.”

“Please sit down, Sia Klath.” Raymond nodded at the seat where Viridian had been sat a few minutes earlier. “We need to make a few changes to the team, Sia. One of those changes is to bring trust back into the team, and there are erm quite a lot of people out there who simply do not trust aliens.” He slung a piece of paper across the table to Sia who just managed to catch it before it flew passed her. She looked at it, and saw it was a printout in her own language. She recognised it as a transcript of her conversation with her brother a few months ago.

“We can’t have secret communications going on with visitors from other worlds on EFB time, Sia. It is so untrustworthy, and, erm, in my opinion underhand and despicable. In order to make the team great, those untrustworthy individuals have to erm go. So, you have one of our Earth hours to gather your belongings and vacate the premises. Make sure you take all of your alien gadgetry with you. Oh, and send Icewind in before you leave.”

“Icewind. Take a seat.” Raymond didn’t even look up at his latest visitor to the kitchen. “You have erm one hour to gather your items and get out of the headquarters. Your services with the EFB are no longer required.”

“But I’m…” Icewind couldn’t finish her sentence.

“Speaking! Do not take it personally, I’m just clearing out some of the undesirable elements to vastly improve the team. You understand.”

“Crimson Songbird,” Raymond half smiled as he typed into his computer. “Thank you for attending the erm last minute meeting the other day. As you know, I said I need to make changes to the team.”

“I…” Crimson Songbird couldn’t say what she wanted.

“I. Am. Speaking.” Raymond said. “Your ‘powers’ aren’t really adequate for a team such as the EFB, so you are no longer part of the team. Perhaps you could try out for the erm X Factor or something.”

“Stealth Gentleman, please, sit.” Raymond slurped from a mug of coffee and nodded to the chair opposite him at the table. “We can’t have two superheroes with a ‘dark image’ on the team, so I had to make a choice between keeping you or the erm Cloud. In the end, I opted for the one with the better hair, which I discovered was the Cloud after I made him remove that ridiculous head mask.”

“But I’m b…” Stealth Gentleman received the same interruption as the others.

“I am speaking. Gather your belongings and be gone within the hour.”

“Parrot Girl. Take a seat.” Once again, Raymond did not look up to acknowledge his latest guest into the kitchen. “As you may or may not know, I am making changes to the team. Some people, I feel, are less suited to the team, so I have decided to let them go. Release them from the team, so we can become great once and for all. You, erm, are one of those I must ask to leave.”

“But I’m not…” Parrot Girl allowed her voice to trail off as Raymond held up both hands, palms facing her.

“I’m speaking. Do not discuss this conversation with any of your colleagues and make sure that you and all of your belongings are out of the building within the hour.” Raymond typed away at his computer again, and didn’t look up as Parrot Girl walked passed him and out of the kitchen.

Once the door had closed behind her, Raymond stretched in his chair, clasped his fingers together, and stretched them so that they all clicked in turn. “Six down for starters.” He said out loud looking at the list of names he had typed into his laptop. He decided to have words with the seventh person on the list later.

Psychic Sue walked into the kitchen of the headquarters of the Elite Force of Britain, and instantly stumbled forwards. The Cloud was in the room, making himself a cup of tea when he saw her. He dashed over, and held Sue by her right arm.

“Are you alright, Sue?” he asked, “You seem very pale.”

“More so than usual?” Sue replied with a slight giggle, “but no, I’m fine. I walked into this room to a barrage of psychic energy, that’s all.”

“Does that happen very often here in the kitchen?” Cloud asked, looking around the empty and rather untidy room.

“Not in here, no…” Sue answered, “Which makes it all the more strange.”

The Cloud walked Sue over to one of the chairs at the round dining table in the centre of the room, and sat her down. “I’ll make you a cuppa. That’ll make all the difference!” He said with a broad smile. The kettle began to bubble and steam away, as the water inside it boiled. The Cloud poured the contents of the kettle into two large mugs. “Do you have milk and sugar, Sue?” He asked, as he absent-mindedly watched the water pour. “Sue?” He turned to face Sue as he didn’t receive a reply, and was shocked to see Sue slumped across the table. Leaving the mugs where they were, he ran over to Sue, and sat her upright in her chair. Her eyes were open but she was staring blankly forward. He shook her gently, but there was still no response. He ran to the communications unit by the door, and pressed the loud tannoy button, which was standard practice in situations such as these. “Medical emergency in the kitchen” Cloud announced, his voice booming throughout the headquarters complex. “Could Doctor Flopp please come to the kitchen immediately?”

In the gym on the seventh floor, Lycralad was running on the treadmill as Firetop was completing another set of reps on the bench press. Invisible Charlie was on the leg curl and Green Gladiator was struggling with the pull-ups.

“I can never get a rhythm with these things,” Gladiator said, finally giving up and dropping to the floor. “That’s it for me for today, I think, possibly even for this month. It isn’t as though I need the exercise…”

“Unlike you, Gee,” Lycralad said, “we haven’t been imbued with natural athleticism so need to do these work outs unless we turn to blubber. And a plump superhero is no good to anyone.”


Lycralad looked behind him and saw Muriel Magnificent who had just walked into the gym. “Present company excluded, Muriel. You did wonderfully when you were plump.”

“Thank you. I’m flattered, I think” Muriel said.

“And you still would be, had you not gone through your transformation and all.” Lycralad realised he wasn’t really helping matters. Muriel simply smiled and looked over to Firetop.

“That’s me done too,” Firetop announced. “Just time now to get a quick shower and head out. Parrot Girl and I are going out for a meal tonight to that new restaurant on Midview Lane.”

“That’s why I’m here, Firetop,” Muriel said, “Parrot Girl has just been on that social media thing we use and she’s asked me to let you know she has to cancel. She’s helping Simba Katiya investigate somebody by the name of Ragdolly Anna, and they are running late.”

“Such is the life of a superhero, pal!” Lycralad smiled. “We just can’t make plans. Have you not learned that yet?”

“I…” Firetop was interrupted by the tannoy system.

“Medical emergency in the kitchen; Could Doctor Flopp please come to the kitchen immediately” The Cloud’s voice boomed out across the room.

“That sounds bad.” Invisible Charlie said, getting up from his bench. “I wonder what’s going on.”

Eli Flopp walked into the kitchen, followed by his nurse, Angela Chance, and the receptionist Natalie Byte. “Now, Cloud,” Eli said in his usual business-like manner, “How can I help you today?”

The Cloud was sat beside Sue, who was still staring blankly forwards. He simply gestured his left palm towards her.

“Oh, dear,” Eli said, to Sue this time. “Now then, let’s have a look at you.” He shone a light into both of Sue’s eyes, and got nothing from her. “She isn’t responding. How long has she been like this?”

“She’s just walked into the room, sat down and this happened. I was making her a cuppa.” The Cloud thought for a second. “She did say she received a barrage of psychic activity when she walked in.”

“That seems to be the case.” Eli said, beckoning Angela over to him. He pointed to her bag, and then pointed twice in an upwards direction. He then motioned his index finger in a circular pattern three or four times before nodding at Angela. Natalie stood by the door, swiftly writing everything into her notebook. Angela took out a small black square device which had a green pulsating light at the end of an antenna.

“Ah. I see.” Eli looked at the device and then at the Cloud. “This is a mini Psychic Recorder that Sue loaned us a while ago. It’s more of a psychic resonator than a recorder, but the green light indicates that there is indeed psychic activity talking place in this room as we speak. It has been attuned to pick up some things, but it isn’t as sensitive as Sue’s Psychic Recorder. We’ll need to get Sue up to the medical centre and see if we can decipher anything from this contraption.” Eli gestured for Natalie to wheel a chair into the kitchen. The Cloud helped to move Sue into the chair, and she was then taken out of the kitchen by Natalie.

The telephone on the communications console rang as Eli walked passed, so he answered it. “Who?” he asked, “I’ll pass you over to the Cloud who’s nearby. He’ll be able to help you.”

“Hello,” the Cloud spoke into the receiver as he held the door open as the doctor and nurse followed Natalie and Sue out into the corridor outside the room. “Tracy Major? The Prime Minister? Oh, sorry. You’ve called during a bit of a situation. Sorry. Say that again… the line isn’t very clear at all!” The Cloud concentrated on the voice at the other end of the line. “Yes. Meeting. Got that. Raymond Reed? R-E-I-D-E… got that. Controller of Superheroes? Has he anything to do with Sue? Psychic Sue? No… OK. He’s on his way here now? You’re on your way here now??? Ah. I see. You want a meeting calling? Got that. OK. We’ll be ready for you when you arrive.”

For the second time in less than half an hour, the Cloud pressed the intercom button to activate the tannoy. “Could all members present report to the meeting room immediately, for an urgent meeting with the Prime Minister. She will be here within the hour.”