"Miss Peters. A friend mentioned that you might want to speak with me a few weeks ago. I appologize for the delay, but I've been... busy." Defender paused for a moment to shore up his courage. "That friend is The Wanderer. I'm Defender."
"Defender, yeah," Defender could hear the rustle of papers in the background. "New hero, working out of ... the 'Parts, right?"
"What I'd like to do is meet somewhere and do an interview, an introductory thing. Like I did with the Wanderer, Fervor and White Knight. When and where can we meet?" she asked.
Defender thought for a moment, then remembered the cafe that the Wanderer had favored so much. He suggested there.
"Any afternoon would be fine. In fact, I can probably spare some time late this afternoon if you want to meet that early."
* * * *When Defender arrived at the cafe near the docks, Jenny was already there with a coffee and her pad. She stood up as he entered. "Defender, good to see you."
"The pleasure is all mine, Ms. Peters." Defender sat at the table. After ordering a coffee and donut, Defender turned his attentions back to his companion.
After Defender settled himself in, Jenny started in.
"What are your powers and how do they work?"
"You certainly don't waste any time, Ms. Peters," Defender said, chuckling. "Well, let me see. I'm fairly strong as we witnessed at the SuperCon. As a side effect, I'm rather tough and can leap great distances. Oh, and I cling to things. Allow me to demonstrate."
Touching a single fingertip to his coffee cup, Defender lifted it to his lips. After a moment of awkwardness, he had to add a second finger to tip the cup for a sip.
"As for how they work... well, your guess is as good as mine."
"What prompted you to start fighting crime?"
"Responsibility. Growing up, I was always taking up for the smaller kids in my school. To this day, I still don't like bullies of any sort. They would pick on the smaller kids or those with physical challenges. I always felt it was my responsibility to stand up for those kids. I was on par with the bullies physically. I don't see much of a difference now. One lab accident later, I'm on par with the superpowered bullies. So, it's my job to stand up for those folks who don't have powers of their own."
"What is your relationship with the Guardians of Port Alexander?"
"We are on friendly terms, but I'm an independant for now." Defender said with a smile.
"Do you know what happens to the villians? They just dissappear."
"I turn them over to the police under normal circumstances. I assume they get the same treatment as any other criminal. I try not to worry and hope that the authorities have the necessary facilities to deal with them. So far, I've not seen any back on the street, so I'm thankful." Defender said as he watched his coffee cup be refilled. "I'll be bouncing off the walls soon."
"The police? I've been tracking this," she flipped through some notes, "Jumping Jack, Blockbuster, Darkspell, Volt, Worm and maybe some others just vanish. The police don't have them. They are no where in the US Penal system as far as I can tell. So where do they go?"
Defender scratched his head. "I can't honestly tell you. I've not been in the scene long enough to even have heard rumors. I'm sure when you find out, I'll be reading it with everyone else. Off the record, I'm just glad some of the people I've fought haven't been back on the streets. I don't want a rematch with some of these guys."
"So you turn all your prisoners over to the police, then? I thought they were stonewalling me," said the girl.
"With the occasional exception of when I was starting out, I've turned over all my prisoners to the authorities. As for their stonewalling, perhaps they are trying to keep the whereabouts of these prisoners a secret so that their potential allies can't find them." Defender finished his cup of coffee.
"And now a personal question, if you don't mind Ms. Peters." Defender placed his cup on the table and folded his hands before him. He spoke with genuine concern. "You involve yourself in the affairs of paranormals. You dig around at the edges of something you seem to feel is a conspiracy. Aren't you ever afraid of the what you might uncover? Maybe even worry that you might get in over your head sometime?"
"That's what the press is here for, buster," said the spunky reporter. "And I'm not completely without resources, you know."
Defender smiled and nearly chuckled. "Well, you get points for nerve and bravado. I respect that. However, if you do get yourself into more trouble than you can handle...." Defender placed a business card with his beeperphone number and a hotmail account address on the table between them. (PA_Defender@hotmail.com)
"Just remember, I don't do windows."
"Thanks, I'll keep it under my hat," she said. "Don't *you* wonder what happens to the bad guys?"
"I wonder where the Easter Bunny goes after spring, but you don't see me crawling down rabbit holes all year round."
"I think this is a little more important than that, don't you? We're talking unlawful imprisonment here," she countered.
"You are probably correct, Ms. Peters," Defender said. "But I'm a simple man. If it's in front of me, I can fight it or talk it to death. Beyond that, I like Sprite and popcorn at the movies, omelets on Sunday mornings and that quiet part of the morning before the world has rolled out of bed. I'm afraid that this issue is beyond a small fish such as myself. Sorry I can't help you beyond that."
With an effort, Jenny got back to the interview, "What are your plans?"
Defender smoothed his hair with a hand as he thought. "Well, I plan to continue to be a presence in the 'Parts. I don't want to be critical of our boys in blue, but this seems to be the area they need the most assistance with. Beyond that, I want to continue helping the Guardians when they need me. Oh and I plan to finish this donut. Have you tried them here? They are to die for."
"No thanks, got to watch my girlish figure," said Jenny.
"And you've done a spectacular job at it," Defender said with a smile. "Anything else you'd like to know?"
"One last thing," said Jenny. "There this guy, 'Ka-Sador', who saved those kids out by the lake. It looks like he might be the same guy who's also been working in the 'Parts. At least, there are some similarities. Know anything about him?"
Defender looked back over his shoulder. With a slight smirk, he replied "Yep. He's my partner."
"Really? What can you tell me about him, and can you get him to come in for an interview?" she asked.
"Sorry. He's shy and doesn't do interviews. And all I can tell you is that he is one of the best partners I could possibly hope for."
"Well, ask him for me at least?" she gave him a card.
"I will," Defender said as he took the card. "Have a good day, Ms. Peters."
Defender stood to leave. He pulled a twenty dollar bill from his belt and placed it on the check. "Keep the card handy, just in case you ever need the assistance of this small fish, Ms. Peters. And thank you for a lovely and unharrowing interview. Hope I'm not too boring for your copy editor."