Jezebel Wesley returned home after her ride.
Henrik Wesley met her at the door.
“I saw on the monitor that you used a box,” he said, with a pride that only the inventor of the system that just saved his daughter could manage. “Are you alright?”
“Yes,” she told him.
“Which one did you choose? The gravity suit?”
“That’s good, too,” said Wesley.
But he saw that Jezebel was distracted.
“What’re you thinking, Jez?” he asked.
“Why did they come after me? Do you think they knew who I was?”
Henrik considered the questions.
“I don’t know. You were the only one out there. Maybe they were desperate enough to try robbing you before you got to a suit,” he said. “Maybe they thought just one person was still vulnerable. They know they can’t compete with the system.”
This seemed to calm her. She nodded.
“Just in case, though, I don’t want you out by yourself after dark anymore,” he suggested.
“Dad, don’t worry about it. I’ll be fine.”
Earl Exeter sat in an abandoned warehouse and picked at the scar on his wrist. He looked at the other members of his gang, all spread out on the bottom floor of the factory, trying to sleep. Exeter shivered and ignored the hunger pangs in his belly. He missed the old days, when cons were sent to prison instead of being tagged and released.
He examined the scar. The situation was his fault, too. That was the worst of it. Exeter had been the man who’d sold the city on Henrik Wesley’s wonderful idea. “A brilliant idea,” he’d told the masses. “If everyone has the power to stop crime, there won’t be any.”
Of course, his motives had been slightly different. He didn’t tell them that if everyone had access, then the criminals would, too, and he’d been the first one. He’d caused havoc for a week. People not used to their new toys couldn’t stop him. He’d been invincible.
But Wesley had reacted and instituted the chip-block. Exeter had been the last powered criminal, too.
His current followers had been told that the plan was to use the girl to open the box so they could use the suits. Again, Exeter had left out critical information. He knew that even with the box open, the chips would disable the suits. But with the inventor’s daughter as a hostage, they would have almost unlimited power to change the status quo.