Artemis "Artie" Hayes has a lot on her plate. There's school, daylighting as a barista and moonlighting as an intangible and invisible thief(that last part is no joke). It's enough to juggle as it is but she never thought that she'd be adding a civil war between normal humans and enhanced humans to the list.
Hell, she thought she was the only person with special abilities until the president made an announcement to capture and subdue her kind.
When her grandma used to tell her stories about the Phoenix Children she thought it was something she made up to make her feel comfortable about being different. Boy how wrong she was.
Phoenix Children are real.
The civil war is real.
What in the world is she going to do about all of this?
Artemis is in deep shit and not the metaphorical kind, the actual literal kind –the actual literal, mushy kind that has an unfortunate death grip on her shoes.
“Ugh!” she grunts trying to shake the aforementioned feces from her shoe (unsuccessfully). “Now I have to sneak into the house reeking of dog shit, great!”
See, Artemis is a thief- a damn good thief at that thanks to her intangible and invisible super abilities, but even those potent abilities can’t mask the stench of fresh dog shit.
She’s desperately trying to rub her shoes in the grass when she throws her hands up and says, “Forget it.” She kicks them off and proceeds to the target’s house.
She's been hired to steal some jewels from some random rich guy. Getting in and out of the house without being detected should be no problem. It's late and she's sure that the residents of the home are sleeping.
"Just get it over with," she says to herself, mentally preparing for her job.
She takes a deep breath then exhales slowly as her body sets itself ablaze in white fire. She feels the heat crawl through her veins and it instantly soothes her. Within minutes the fire has made her completely intangible thus she walks right through the wooden door and into the foyer of the home. Still slightly afire she becomes invisible and the flames flicker before going completely out.
She takes another deep breath as she takes the stairs trekking up them two at a time. She glances at her phone and curses internally as she realizes how late it really is. Her boyfriend is going to be pissed when she makes it back home but she has to finish this job or she won't get paid so he'll just have to be mad tonight.
She continues down the hallway, past two bed rooms and onward to the home office at the end of the hall. The client told her that the jewels are kept in a lockbox in the desk drawer with the false bottom. Not like it matters anyway. She can go clean through any solid object with no problems. She walks through the door and feels around for the desk.
Geez, she'd give an arm or leg for super night vision or something right now. Her hand roams over the smooth, cold wood and she assumes this is the desk. She shoves her hand all the way through it feeling around for the jewels.
"Bingo!" She cheers quietly once she pulls a small pouch out of the desk. She opens it and uses her phone as a light to see if she's grabbed the right thing. She pours the contents into her free hand and it is black crystals. She shrugs and shoves the pouch into her pocket before silently leaving the house and heading to the rendezvous point to meet her client.
"Did you get it?" The woman asks while gripping her black trench coat tighter around herself. They're standing in the middle of Liberty Park. It's dark out and not a soul is in sight. If it wasn't for the moonlight and scarce street lights they wouldn't be able to see each other."
"Yes, I have it. It was right where you said it'd be." She waves the pouch in front of the woman, who in response, smiles.
"The old fool is still as predictable as ever." She begins to reach for the pouch when Artie snatches back.
"Of course." She reaches into her large tote bag and pulls out a package tossing it to her. "Your money. Now, can I have my stones?"
She thumbs through the cash in the package.
"It's all there."
"Mm." She tosses the pouch to the woman. "Nice doing business with you."
They shakes hands before the lady says, "Thanks for everything, Shadow."
She nods at the woman before turning around and going their separate ways. She pulls her hood back over her head and her phone buzzes in her pocket. She retrieves it and takes note of the time (2:00 am) and the flurry of missed calls from her boyfriend.
"Oh God," she sighs. Why couldn't she have been born with super speed?
Artemis is in deep shit and this time not the literal kind but the metaphorical kind because as she enters her shared apartment in the New Liberty district of Washington D.C, she sees her boyfriend’s face blazing red and those blue eyes full of anger.
“Hi. . .” she manages to say.
“Hi?” he mocks angrily.
“Look, I can explain.”
“Explain what, Artie? I had something special- Wait.”
He covers his nose and gasps. “What. . . is. . . that. . . smell?”
Her face burns from embarrassment right now. “Uh.”
He sniffs her. “Oh my God, is that you?”
“I. . .” she sighs and shrugs. “I stepped in dog shit.”
He burst out laughing. “Oh my God! Throw your shoes outside, they reek!”
She laughs and playfully punches him in the arm. “Shut up.” She kicks off the shoes and sets them outside the apartment door. “I’m sorry Ty,” she says finally.
“You’re always sorry,” he replies and his smile fades away. “Where were you? I’ve been calling you for hours and I was worried. You know how I am. I worry.” He runs his hands over his face.
“I was. . .” she tries to think of a believable lie but be as it may, she’s a terrible liar and Tai has an incredible bullshit radar so she opts for the truth. “I was working.”
“Working?” he arches a brow and those blue eyes glisten. She smiles inwardly because God she loves this man’s eyes. “The café isn’t open this late, Artie.”
“I was . . . working overtime?” she laughs a little and bites her bottom lip.
He sighs and walks over to her. “Just tell me the truth.”
“I am telling you the truth.” She grabs his hands and intertwines her fingers in between his. “I was working.” Technically she isn’t lying. Apart of her wants to tell him that she’s a university student/ barista by day and a super thief by night but she decides it’s best to keep that little info to herself.
He sighs heavily again. “What am I gunna do with you?”
“Love me?” She stands on her tip toes and kisses him softly on the lips.
“You need to be more careful when you’re out this late,” he says guiding her over to the couch and they both take a seat, fingers still laced together.
She lays her head on his shoulder and yawns. “What do you mean?”
"Haven't you been watching the news?"
He sits up and digs in his pocket pulling out his phone. "You haven't seen that video of the bank robbery? It's been all over the news."
He rolls his eyes. "You're so far out of the loop, babe." He taps on his phone and pulls up a video showing it to her. "Check this out."
The video shows a vault. Suddenly, a flame erupts and about three people appear inside of the vault as the fire disappears. They begin to stuff the duffle bags emptying out deposit boxes and dumping cash in the bags simultaneously. Once they are done they burst into flames again and disappear from the video.
She gets up from the couch and walks toward the kitchen. "That's so fake."
Tyler gets up and follows her. "No it isn't! The police say that evidence shows that the vault was never opened and the money is, in fact, missing. And did you see the fire? How come the bank didn't catch fire? I say aliens!"
She snorts. "Aliens? Okay. Whatever you say hon." She retrieves a beer from the fridge.
"If you look closely you can see one of them walking right through the vault door." He moves closer showing her the screenshot of video.
She glances at the video and sure enough the guy is walking through the vault door. Her eyes grow wide as everything connects.
Walking through doors.
They are just like her.
It's a small world after all, she thinks.
Tyler rewinds the video and watches it again. "The president is supposed to address this tomorrow."
She sips her beer. "Mm."
"This is the reason you shouldn't be out so late. What if one of these people show up? You could get hurt, Artie."
She rubs up against him flirtatiously. "Aw. You're so cute when you worry."
He sighs then smiles and caresses her cheek. "I'm serious. These people are bad news."
She shrugs and walks back to the living room with him in tow. "Maybe they're not bad per say."
"They just robbed a bank,” he deadpans.
She clears her throat. "Stealing doesn't necessarily mean that you're a bad person." She’s making a reference to herself here although it can be argued that she is a bad person considering she’s a thief but like she doesn’t kill people so she’s not like a bad- bad person, right? At least that’s what she tells herself and it helps her sleep at night.
“Just. . . call me next time. I don’t know what I’d do if something happened to you.”
She sips the beer then walks back over to him. “But you’ll protect me won’t you?” she says as a way of flirting. She can tell that Tyler has immediately forgotten about their previous argument probably because he’s horny and well he has every right to be seeing that they haven’t had sex in like months because well. . . she’s been a busy girl with pouring coffee and stealing jewels from random rich guys and all.
She runs her fingers through his blonde hair and places a kiss on his forehead. “Let’s go to bed.”
He smirks. “Only if you plan on making it up to me. Right now. Naked.”
“But of course.” She takes off her shirt and walks toward the bedroom stopping in the doorway. “Are you coming?”
“God I hope so.”
"Are you ready for this sir?" His assistant asks while fixing his tie.
"As ready as I'll ever be," President Cooper responds while looking over her work in the mirror.
A random person walks into the room. "They are ready for you now, Mr. President."
"I'm coming." The president walks out into the hallway where his body guards are waiting.
"We are on the move," one of them says into a Bluetooth. They all move in sync with the president making sure that no one approaches him.
Before walking out to the anxious members of the press he takes a deep breath and fiddles with his cuff links. As soon as he's made visible to everyone they all rage like a sea of hungry sharks. They're all yelling random questions at him and the cameras are flashing simultaneously. This is his second term as president and he's still not used to this.
His assistant steps up to the podium. "Hold your questions until the end please."
The crowd goes silent and the president steps to the podium.
He takes a deep breath then speaks. "Citizens of America, there has been an ongoing issue that we've been hiding from you all and for good reason. However, since the recent leaking of the bank footage I must address this publicly. Everything that you saw on the video was very real. This is not a joke, but please do not fret for everything is being dealt with accordingly. Ladies and gentlemen, there are enhanced beings among us, or superhumans, if you will. Because of this things must change.
“I introduce to you the Superhuman Act. We have learned that these special individuals have a different chromosome in their blood that normal people do not have. Starting tomorrow every American citizen, including myself, will have to undergo a mandatory blood test. If you have the special chromosome in your blood you must register as enhanced and be given a special wristband.
This wristband must be worn at all times so that you can be identified easily. Once the wristband has been administered you will be required to undergo special training to live in normal society. Once it is proven that you can conduct yourself accordingly you will be free of government supervision. However, you will have to check up monthly.
With this new act we aim to make our country safe for all. That is why the S.A.T. has been created it and here to tell you more about that is the United States of America Secretary of Defense, Allison Fuller."
She steps up to the podium looking a stiff as a board. Her posture is so straight. Her white hair is cut in a short bob with sleek straight bangs framing her face. Her mouth is in a straight line and it looks like a permanent scowl is etched on her face. "The superhuman apprehension team has been created for one sole purpose," she begins. ". . . to apprehend those special beings who think that they are above the law, much like the individuals from the bank robbery video. With that being said it is not our intention to discriminate against our special citizens. However, we must protect the powerless. Now.” She clasps her hands together. “I will answer a few questions."
At this point random reporters began shooting questions at Miss Fuller. She selects only three to answer.
Jane from FOXNews asks, "Who are these people? And why do they have these special abilities?"
"They call themselves the Phoenix Children. We do not know why they have these abilities. However, a few individuals have come forward and offered to help us with better understanding them."
Mark from CNN asks, "How do you expect us to feel safe knowing that there are people out there like this?"
"The agents of S.A.T. are trained specifically in apprehending these type of people should they get out of hand. There is no need to worry."
Laura from The Washington Post asks, "Don't you think this is racist in a sense? What if everyone with these abilities isn’t using them for bad things? Wearing these government assigned wristbands marks them and makes them subject to premature judgment."
"While I understand where you're coming from Laura. I want you to look at it this way. We must do whatever it takes to protect the powerless citizens. And as previously stated it is not our intention to discriminate against special citizens. As a matter of fact we encourage our special citizens to come forward and help us to gain more understanding of them that way we can't prejudge them. Furthermore, it would increase the peace. No further questions."
As Allison steps down from the podium the press began to shoot more questions her way but she ignores them and the president follows suit as they disappear from the stage