"Vibrata. Vibra-Girl. The Vibrator… oh sorry. That last one sounds like a sex toy."
"They all sound like sex toys."
"Not… okay, yeah." Enduro-Man scratched at a spot just above the giant letter "E" symbol on his chest. He leaned forward and checked the City Hall clock tower. "If Zephyr’s intel is solid, we have about fifteen minutes."
Estressa clenched the lip of the rooftop they were sitting on. "Yeah."
"You okay? It'll be easier with you here, but if you want to back out, no-one will hold it against you."
"It's just —" A dozen things came to mind. Estressa chose the least personal one. "I'm a bit scared of heights."
"You don't have to sit on the ledge with me. Here." Enduro-Man swung behind Estressa and pulled her away from the edge. "Better?"
Enduro-Man returned to the ledge. "You don't have a uniform yet either."
Estressa shrugged. "Black yoga pants, black t-shirt. Amaza said so long as it was comfortable, I could wait. My youngest is starting kindergarten next year, and —"
Enduro-Man shushed her with a wave of his hand. "There's the truck," he stage whispered. He half-climbed off the roof, holding onto the ledge with one hand. Even from her safe perch, just seeing him hanging eighteen stories above the street like that made Estressa want to pee. She stood to take the pressure off her bladder.
He swung back onto the roof. "Five minutes, starting now," he whispered. He frowned. “Maybe it should be noun-based, not verb-based."
"Your moniker. Like, how about Shimmer?"
"Sounds like an eyeshadow." Estressa turned and placed herself next to the penthouse wall, forehead and fingertips resting on the bricks. "I have to get ready."
"Fifteen seconds… ten, nine, eight… no!" Enduro-Man’s voice rose from a whisper to a bark. “The sensors are picking up the laser controllers! They're spooling up the hypno-ray already!"
Estressa pressed against the wall.
"Step aside," Enduro-Man said. “I can break through and —"
"No." Estressa squared her feet. "I got this."
She closed her eyes and thought this is way too dangerous and if Bill ever finds out you're leaving him to baby-sit so you can hang out with capes instead of going to night school like you said and what if the bad guys kill you? He'll have to raise the kids on his own and find some way to get them to remember their mum but leave out the part where she thought she could be a hero because apparently being a wife and a mum and a court reporter wasn't good enough and if things don't start working soon all the capes will think you're a fraud…
Her forehead pushed into the bricks, and she felt her fingers sinking in. She took a shuffling step forward, pressing her knees into the wall. It was like walking through a pile of sand.
So now you get to die a martyr because once they can see you inside they're going to shoot you before you're even free of this wall and Enduro-Man will be stuck outside until he smashes the wall down and damages the building, which is exactly what you're here to have him avoid doing because the insurance companies are lobbying against the capes and the Diamond King gang will turn on that hypno-ray with the diamond scattering the beam over the whole city and enslave Bill and the kids and everyone else…
She felt her hands reach into air, and solidity at the back of her head. Her face emerged from the wall. She was in darkness. At the opposite end of the room, Diamond King stood under a chandelier, giving a speech. He waved the stolen diamond around, demonstrating how it would fit in the hypno-ray’s lens clamp. The attention of the henchmen was on their boss. They all had their backs to her.
Estressa’s nose wrinkled as she noticed the room was full of cigarette smoke. Realising her hair and clothes would reek of it, and that she would have to explain that to Bill as well made her anxious enough that she finished passing through the wall easily.
Fortunately, her powers never seemed to make her sink through floors.
She glanced over her shoulder, quickly locating the door to the balcony before focusing on the henchmen again. She took a sliding, careful step backwards.
The Diamond King shouted, and the henchmen spun around. Estressa took three steps backwards, reaching the door. She unlatched it with her left hand while punching the nearest henchman with her right, years of multi-tasking ensuring her aim was true in both cases. The henchman knocked into the two approaching behind him, while Enduro-Man opened the door.
"Where did you get the muscles to punch like that?" he said as knocked out the groaning henchmen and leapt to nab a frightened-looking Diamond King.
"I lift toddlers four hours a day," said Estressa.
"What's that slang for, some kind of —" Enduro-Man crushed Diamond King's hand around the diamond, then extracted it and stuffed it in his cape pouch while the arch-villain howled in pain. "Wait, you mean real toddlers?"
"Yeah. Although the eldest two are grade-schoolers now. But they still like to be carried sometimes."
Enduro-Man pursed his lips and nodded as he handcuffed Diamond King. "Huh. Can you power down the hypno-ray while I bring this crook to the police?"
"Like unplug it?"
"No!" Diamond King shouted. "That will destroy it! It needs time to —"
Enduro-Man hoisted the arch-villain over one shoulder. "Yeah, that should be fine. See you at HQ, Shimmer."
He strode out the door. Estressa stepped over the henchmen, making sure they were all out cold, and decided just this once it was all right to pull out a plug by the cord.
She sighed. The name was going to stick.