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The question, thinks Shaun, is are you the kind of man who blusters here? Or do you take the hit to pride, so neither you nor she gets hurt?

“Hurry up!” snaps the man with the 38-caliber.

“All right,” Shaun says carefully. “Don’t shoot. I’m getting out my wallet.”

Something flickers through the streetlight above them. Both men look up, and Shaun registers that Lissa is not in fact standing behind him: she’s inverted in the air, acrobatic, spinning to kick the mugger’s face with a pair of legs that God must have put together as proof of Her own existence.


Shaun heaves a fainted Regan out of the madding crowd. People are radios, and right now the static’s insane. Carnival turned ugly when the Bad Mask Guys showed up and made things boom; he doesn’t want anyone trampled.

Safe momentarily in an alcove, he scans the streaming riot desperately for Lissa. He can’t see her, but people are radios–Shaun closes his eyes and tunes his body’s antenna to her electric hum.

She’s there, impossibly clear. The crowd should muddy it, unless–

He looks up to see a girl in white twist gracefully, slamming a huge man face-first through a wall.


Lissa’s skirt is a short leather sleeve, laced bootlike up front and back; together with halter top and garter belt, it’s just not a role model outfit. Not that superheroing was the plan tonight–that was margaritas and dancing to drive Shaun wild–but here come the Black-Masked Bastards! Carnival must be the perfect place to blow stuff up.

At least she’s got a mask already: big, white and feathery. She’s grateful for that, and, vaulting off a streetlight, almost warms to Black-Masked Beefcake.

Then she notices Shaun carrying some other girl to safety.

She hits Beefcake with a coffee shop.