Part 26 – The Prodigy.

“Name?”

“Adelaide Bruce.”

“Rank?”

“I’m sorry?”

“She doesn’t have one,” Francis interrupted, looking over at the police officer, “she’s normal.”

The police officer turned a withering gaze on Francis, who met his eyes with an angry squint.

“Was I asking you?” The officer said.

“No,” Francis muttered. The officer sighed and wrote something down, then he looked up at Francis again.

“Name?”

“Francis Allen.”

“Rank?”

“One.”

He moved on down the line.

“Name?”

“Lee Richards.”

“Rank?”

“One.”

The pencil scratched on the page.

“Name?”

“Emma Wilson.”

“Rank?”

“None of your business.”

“Would you like to spend the evening in a cell, or would you prefer it if I just got your details and sent you away?”

Emma pursed her lips angrily.

“One.”

“Name?”

“Lydia Blake. Two.”

Adelaide looked down the line at Lydia. The police officer appeared to be thinking about being difficult about her hastiness, but reconsidered it and moved on.

“Name?”

“Peter Ford.”

“Rank?”

“None.”

“Name?”

“Julian Hex,” the echo resounded in all their heads. The voice was resigned and weary.

“Rank?”

“Three.”

“And finally,” the police officer stepped over to Amadeus, who was standing to one side.

“Oh come on,” he smiled ruefully, “you surely don’t need my details, you know me Roger.”

“Sorry,” he said, “standard procedure. You’re not an officer, so I’ve got to take them.”

“Fine. My name, as you know perfectly well, is Amadeus Romero. My rank is five.”

Francis froze and his eyes widened. He stared out at the others, who met his gaze, equally shocked.

“Five?” He hissed, “There’s no way he’s a five…”

“Shut up you!” Roger roared back at them. Francis lapsed into a sullen silence. One of the other police officers motioned to Roger that his job was done, took his notebook from him and skimmed down the details quickly.

“All right,” she moved in front of the line, “with the exception of Mr Hex you’re all free to go. Amadeus here has made it clear to us what’s happened here, but we might decide to pull you in and take your statements. Any questions.”

“Yeah,” Lee said, his voice unusually high pitched, “when are you going to listen to me? Julian isn’t guilty. I know it.”

“We never said he was,” the police officer returned calmly, “the investigation is ongoing. However a lot of evidence does point to Mr Hex’s involvement.”

“But I saw his mind!” Lee flung his arms in the air, “I saw his intentions. He’s not a bad guy.”

“And how do you suppose we verify this? We can’t just take your word for it. Besides Mr Hex is a powerful psychic. It’s perfectly possible he concealed his true intentions from you.”

“No,” Lee kneaded his forehead furiously, “that’s not how it works! You don’t understand…”

Adelaide put a hand on his shoulder.

“It’s hopeless man,” she said quietly, “there’s no way of proving it to them.”

Lee looked up at her with red rimmed eyes. She’d never seen him so shaken before. Lee was the one who always kept his cool. Now he was angry and sad and confused and she didn’t know what to tell him. He turned away from her and looked towards Julian.

“Don’t worry,” Julian said in his mind, “I’ll be fine.”

“I’ll get you out,” Lee said, “I’ll prove you’re innocent. I’ll find the real murderer.”

“Heh,” Julian drew himself up, “thanks kid.”

“Okay,” the police officer held up her hands for quiet, “time you got out of here.”

“Actually,” Amadeus stepped forward, “excuse me if you will officer, but I’d like to have a word with Adelaide quickly.”

All eyes turned to her. Adelaide narrowed her eyes.

“Sure,” she said, uncertainly.

“Alone,” Amadeus said, “if you don’t mind.”

“That’s fine…” Adelaide shrugged. They walked away from the small crowd of police officers and super-humans to the corner of the room. Adelaide looked up at Amadeus, curious.

“What is it then?” She asked. He smiled and extended a hand. She shook it quickly.

“I think we need to talk,” he said, “the two of us, about this team of yours. When I heard there were some other people in the crime-fighting business, what’s more people my own age, I was excited. I think we can help each other very much.”

“Okay,” Adelaide put her head to one side, unsure what he was getting at.

“We should meet to discuss things,” he said, “how does next Sunday sound? I know a little café we could go to.”

“Sure,” Adelaide murmured, “I think I know the place you mean. Near the park?”

“Yeah. Cool,” he turned to head back to the others, “well I’ll see you then.”

“Right.”

Adelaide watched as Amadeus walked over to the police officer Roger and started to chat with him. He was odd for certain. She didn’t know much about the super-human ranking system, but she knew that a five was pretty much unheard of. There were, what, four in the whole world? Well, five now, she supposed. How come she’d never heard of him before?

Even weirder, Roger, who had been decidedly curt with Francis, talked with Amadeus as if they were old friends. Adelaide knew the type: their prejudice only just reigned in only by their professionalism. For some reason Roger didn’t seem affected that a rank five, the weirdest of them all, was talking to him. Perhaps it was because Amadeus wasn’t… weird. Not really. Not like Francis, or Lee, or Lydia. He was more like Emma. But no-one knew about Emma. Everyone seemed to know about Amadeus. He evidently wasn’t normal: Adelaide had seen him punch through a brick wall, and when he’d chased Julian… well, he’d been fast. Really fast.

Still pondering all this she headed back to the others. Francis, Lee, Emma and Lydia were standing next to the iron ladder, ready to leave as quickly as possible.

“What did he say?” Francis raised an eyebrow at her.

“Oh,” Adelaide thought about it, “nothing much. Just complimenting us on picking up on the same leads he did.”

Lee shot her a sharp look and she knew that he knew she was lying, he must have read her mind. Nevertheless, he said nothing and they clambered up the ladder to the gantry in silence.

Adelaide had decided that she’d go and see Amadeus alone. She was curious and interested, and the others treading on her toes and making a mess of things would be inconvenient. The thought crossed her mind that it might be some kind of trick. No matter, she’d bring the spray deodorant. She was willing to bet his eyes were just like everyone else’s. Vulnerable.

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