Detective Reed sat in his office, feet up on his desk while slowly rocking and chewing a pencil. His curly brown hair was now on full display, with both his hat and his coat on the coat rack near his office door. His black shoes rhythmically clicked together as he thought about the thief that they had “caught” last night.
The man fully confessed to going around stealing purses and bags from women; that’s not what left him questions. What was on his mind was the woman who adhered the man’s frostbitten hands to the ground. She had on regular civilian clothes and a small mask. What he saw of her could actually describe dozens of women in the city. Of course, he didn’t really have any authority to really issue a search for her.
“REED!” yelled a man, slamming his office door open. It was actually his boss, but it was hard to see him as anything other than someone who just piles paperwork on him.
“Yeah, I know what you want.” Detective Reed growled. “I’ll get the paperwork done soon. I’m just thinking about something.”
“Well think faster! Paperwork doesn’t fill out itself! You caught the thief; what more is there to think about?!” his boss said before slamming the door on the way out. Reed sighed as he laid his head back, not looking forward to the office work that he had to do. He heard his door open and a gentle knock.
“Boss chew you out, Noah?” asked his partner, Daniel. His partner sported his blue police uniform against his light brown skin. His hair was short and curly, but he hides it under his police hat more than Reed ever does with his.
“Did the whole place get a listen on it?” Reed asked.
“Maybe.” Daniel laughed. “Don’t let him get you down. He just needs to get a heart. And probably a doctor’s appointment for his blood pressure.”
“Hey Dan, I ask you to do something?” Reed asked.
“Sure, what is it?”
“I’m swamped with my own paperwork, so I need you to open a file on someone.”
“No problem. Got a name?” Reed shook his head.
“Not an actual one, but I’m pretty sure it’s an alias. It’s the one that the thief we picked up last night wouldn’t stop saying.”
“What’s the name? I can get it over to you later.”
“File it under ‘Selicy’.”
Stanley gave Irelia a high-five and laughed as he fell back into his chair. They were back at Stanley’s hideout, only a day before Irelia had to return to work.
“Took down your first villain. Nice!” Irelia laughed and blushed as she drank another glass of lemonade in one gulp. She had drank a bit too much for her sugar levels to be stable.
“I wouldn’t say I took down a villain, but he sure wasn’t getting up, that’s for sure!” Last night, Irelia had run all the way back to Stanley’s and told him about her encounter with the thief, along with her run away from the cops. For all she knew, she outran them on her own; she loved the adrenaline rush.
“Don’t you go feeling too hot about last night.” Stanley started. “You’ve gotta have a better way to get away without just going through the streets.”
“Imagine if you needed to get away in the day; the streets would get packed.”
“What do you propose, then?” Irelia snarkily asked.
“Come out back, I want to test something.”
As Irelia went out back, Stanley followed soon after with a pair of brown-leather fingerless gloves. After giving them to her, he prompted for her to put them on.
“What’s this all about?”
“Well, you know about basic laws of matter, right?” Stanley asked. “You know, heat solids, they become liquids; heat those even more, you get gases.”
“Who doesn’t know that?” Irelia teased.
“Well, when cold is applied, gasses become liquids and liquids become solids. However, when something goes from gas to solid, we call it deposition. Do it on the air.”
“Are you actually stupid?” Irelia asked, not cheery anymore. “That’s not how it works; how did you even get your job? You don’t just freeze air. You can freeze the water vapor, but air is something different; too many impurities in it. You’d have to actually be colder than liquid hydrogen. So, no, I can’t freeze the air.”
“Fine.” Stanley said, putting his hands up. “Can you at least try and make ice then?” Irelia was about to counter that she wasn’t an ice maker, but then just sighed when she saw the sparkle in Stanley’s eyes.
Irelia focused really hard on trying to freeze the air around her. She was able to make icicles and chunks of ice, a pretty good improvement from freezing a guy’s hand to concrete. Stanley smiled and looked really excited.
“Okay, now can you do that with your feet?” Irelia raised an eyebrow.
“Stanley, is this a *ahem* problem we need to talk about? Those kinds of requests are off-limit.”
“No, no.” Stanley assured. “I want to know because I have a really cool test for you.” He pointed along the wall of the warehouse. “I think that if you can freeze ice along the wall, you can use the resulting ice like stairs.”
“Sounds far-fetched.” Irelia criticized.
“Just try it… please?” he begged.
Irelia rolled her eyes and gave in. She ran along the wall and went to take a step; the resulting icicle was indeed attached to the wall, but it was so frail that Irelia stepped through it and fell down.
“I don’t think it worked.” Irelia said grumpily.
“I’m sure you’ll get it down eventually.” Stanley said reassuringly. The sound of his phone ringing went off and he took it out. “Looks like your crime-stopping has already gotten a story.” he said proudly.
“Tell me if there’s anything good.” she said, beginning making a snow angel. Stanley started reading the article, eager as to what the news made of his friend’s escapade. As he read on, his smile slowly dropped until he gave out a loud gasp and dropped his phone.
“Ire…” he said shakily. He pointed to his phone, which Irelia picked up. She scrolled to the top of the article before reading anything.
Irelia finished reading the article; her hands were shaking in rage. She threw the phone back onto the ground and began to run the other way. Stanley lunged forward and grabbed her arm before she could get to the streets.
“What do you think you’re doing?!” Irelia furiously asked.
“What’re you doing?!” Stanley asked, concerned.
“I’m going to go give that cur writer what’s coming to her! Why’d she write such an incriminating article about me, like I was the criminal?!”
“What’d you freeze a man’s hand solid?!” Stanley asked.
“They should be thanking me!” Irelia countered. “At least he can’t filch anyone else’s things!” Irelia was trying to shake Stanley off of her now. “At least I didn’t kill him.”
“You’re not the one to decide that!” Stanley furiously spat. “Heroes don’t kill!”
“Excuse me,” shouted a man far off to their left. “Do you have any time to spare?” They both stopped and turned to see a man in a large beige trench coat and black fedora. He took a police badge out of his pocket and showed it to them. Irelia’s heart skipped a beat; she recognised that man. “My name is Detective Noah Reed; Cord City Police.”
“What’s the trouble, officer?” Stanley asked weakly.
“I’m looking for a woman by the name of Irelia Jones.”
“Haven’t heard of her.” Irelia lied. The man gave a chuckle.
“Let me make it more clear then. Irelia Jones, I have some questions to ask you.” Irelia turned, but the man called out to her before she could run. “I don’t need a second woman running away when I ask her not to. I don’t want to have to set up a perimeter, so we can keep this as quiet as long as you can comply.”
“Any drink you’d like?” Stanley asked, unable to keep still.
“No thanks, kid.” Detective Reed replied, weary by Stanley’s energy. He seemed to be jumpy around cops or something. Detective Reed and Irelia were sitting in chairs across from each other, with only a small coffee table separating them.
“Stan, can you go to the store and pick up some tea bags?” Irelia asked, not breaking eye contact with Reed.
“Why?” Stanley asked.
“Because I want tea.” she replied.
“Are you sure?”
“Wait; what kind?” he said before rushing out the door.
“Stan, just go get it already!” she said impatiently.
Stanley was finally gone, so both Irelia and Detective Reed could conduct their interview with each other. Irelia knew that the detective wasn’t going to give up easily on the information that he wanted; Reed knew that this woman wasn’t going to give any information without a fight. Both metally prepared themselves for the other.
“Can I start by asking for your occupation?” he asked.
“Why?” she retorted. “I’m sure you’ve already found where I live, where I work, and who owns the apartment I live in.” Reed smiled and placed his hat on the coffee table.
“Then I’m sure you know that if that’s the case, there’s no way I can know everything. You weren’t at your house, and we can get to that later, but I want to know what your latest project is at your job.”
“Sorry, that’s confidential. You’ll have to go to The Company for that.” Reed laughed.
“We both know that they’ll do anything to shut people up when snooping around anything secret. After all, corporate greed is fueled by corporate green.”
“Why do you need to know then?”
“I’ll skip straight to the point.” he said, rubbing his eyes. He looked like he hadn’t slept in a couple days. “I’ve been assigned a near impossible case by my boss because I decided to open a new file on someone. Because of that, he’s told me to find her or my job’s gone. So, I’d be cooperative. Now, what is Project Sub-Zero?” he asked.
“Just a project about ice. You know, trying to create devices to control ice and stuff; engineering new ice magic. Not exciting, but it’s my job.” she said, shrugging her shoulders.
“Ma’am, I’ve heard enough lies already.” Reed said, frustrated. “Just tell me now; were you experimenting on people or not?” Irelia kept silent, but that only gave Reed answers.
“What’s this about, anyway?” Irelia pressed. “Why are you really questioning me, Detective?”
“There’s a woman out there who has hurt someone and might hurt a lot more people if we don’t find her, so I suggest that you please help me out.”
“Detective, who are you looking for?” Irelia pressed with more anger.
“The masked criminal, Selicy. Ring any bells? Test subject? Co-researcher? Anything?” Irelia knew that this detective was not going to leave until he squeezed some substantial info out of her. She was clearly his last lead. She leaned in close.
“You’re not going to find her on any records, but yeah, I know the name. She came in to volunteer, and left before we could see any results on her.” Detective Reed took out a notepad and jotted down something.
“Anything else you can tell?” he asked. Irelia shook her head.
“Sorry, sir. That’s all I can say about her.”
“I see… What about your friend, Stanley Reinlock?”
“Stanley? The guy’s got a big heart, but he’s about as sharp as a marble. Not much he can really answer.”
“Anything else you’d like to tell me?”
“1920s America called; they want their fashion choices back.”
“I see… Alright then,” Detective Reed said, standing up and taking his hat. “I’ll be on my way then.” he said, sounding tired.
“Yes, please do.” Irelia said bluntly. Reed extended a hand, which Irelia gratefully took and shook. Reed shivered.
“You’ve got a cold hand there, miss. Better get a glove or something, it’s cold around this time of year.” he said, concerned.
“Yeah, I’ll do that.” she said, escorting Reed out.
She closed the door and let out a huge sigh. She felt that under her clothes along her back and creeping up on the front of her body, there was a thin layer of ice. Anxiety was not the best thing when mixed with something that she was still trying to get under her belt. She didn’t like that detective one bit, and she’s pretty sure the message got across to him just fine.
“I got the tea!” shouted Stanley, bursting through the door. Irelia took a look at the tea and quickly threw the box at his head.
“Idiot! I hate chamomile!” she barked.
Detective Reed walked back to his car where his partner, Daniel, was waiting. He sighed and put his head on the wheel.
“The girl not give up much?” Daniel asked.
“Tough nut to crack. Barely got the fact that she had a job out of her. Got me a little unhinged in the process.”
“What did you get?” Reed sighed and looked at his notepad.
“Not a whole lot. Can’t tell what she’s being honest about. Probably bullshitting her entire interrogation. Either way, I need to go get a warrant.”
“For what?” Daniel said questioningly.
“Her workplace. I have a lot of CCTV to look through.”
“What about the other night?” Daniel asked. “Can’t you use cameras from around the city to find where she came from?” Reed glumly shook his head.
“Can’t. All footage from around the entire city that night between the time of 1 AM and 4 AM has been wiped from the servers and backup servers. Even inside the store she was apparently in, the video was wiped. All gone.”
“How do you even do that?!” asked a shocked Daniel.
“I don’t know.” Reed replied grimly. “But one thing’s for sure: someone tried to make it as though that night never happened. Selicy’s got a partner looking out for her.”