Will stared blankly at the screen. "Nah, couldn't be. But if you can pickup any communications from NASA--without danger to yourself--about the asteroid, pass it on to me."
Then he got down on the floor and managed a single push up. Rolled over. Managed two situps.
"Well, I don't think I'll be up to Super Strength anytime soon. I ought to go back and ask the Knockout drop girl and her nerd brother how long it took for those rats to get stronger."
"So, how many Supers do you track, regularly?" Ernie looked around the Las Vegas DSMD headquarters appreciatively. I could learn to live like this. Although . . . Well, it's been three days of nothing and I'm already getting bored.
"Thousands. They come to gamble. Our job is to keep them as close to honest as possible, and limit the casino's losses."
Ernie blinked. "Huh. I always lost money . . . and as far as I know, so did Will."
Ariana Paxton nodded. "You and Mr. Furnace are on our list. And you both lose moderate amounts of money on every visit." Her eyes slid toward her computer screen. "Mr. Furnace is a much better tipper than you are."
Ernie snorted. "I know. He always poked fun at me. But five bucks in plenty for delivering food and drinks."
Mike rolled his eyes. "And you wonder why we thought you were the super villain?"
"Heh. Young people. No manners. And if that stuff Junior Mad Scientist injected Will with really rejuvenated him, why would he return?"
Mike grinned. "Because he doesn't know anyone is after him. 'Poor Mr. Furnace, such a nice gentleman! We're going to miss him.' Honestly, every single staff member there."
Ernie nodded. "Including you. So, if he's feeling younger, he might come back for a second round? Or if he needs regular treatments . . . I wonder if he does? There's no baseline for whatever those kids did."
He stared down at his feet.
Will my legs get strong enough that I can walk? Even just suddenly being strong enough that I can stand long enough to get out of bed and into my wheelchair on my own has been wonderful.
I even managed the bathroom with calling Mike for help.
I probably ought to start doing those wretched leg exercises again.
Hmm . . .
He pulled out his comp and started a search for purchases of exercise equipment over the last five days.
He won't go to a gym where he'd be around too many people who might notice him getting younger.
He fiddled while it searched. Pulled up his favorite conspiracy site, to catch up with the stupidity.
Oh, nice! A flame war between the people who are sure that asteroid is going to hit the Earth and kill everyone and the people who think it's an Alien Space Craft and the source of that anonymous signal last. . . whenever the heck that was.
His phone buzzed.
He didn't recognize the number, but was bored enough to answer anyway.
"Ernie? Good. I thought I remembered your number."
Everyone in the room sat up and looked at him.
"Yeah. Hey, do you still have that space plane?"
"Yeah. It's under twenty feet of ice and snow with all the rest of my stuff."
"Shit. I hate stealing government property, they get so pissy about it. Well, Probably no need, anyway . . . but they keep their space planes at Edwards, don't they?"
"Will . . . stop it. Go home and enjoy your last years. Honestly, it's not like you to fall for snake-oil salesmen."
"You ought to give it a try Ernest Man."
"Don't call me that, you geriatric menace to society."
He looked around.
Ariana Paxton was standing, leaning over her desk.
Mike and Harkness were leaning over to listen.
The tech looked around. "Northside, moving east during the call. Burner phone activated half an hour ago. I'm tracking it, but . . ."
Harkness growled. "But it's probably been tossed into a different vehicle by now."
"And he's going to steal a Space Plane." Ernie clutched his head. "Unless he's diverting our attention from his real goal. Or laughing his head off because he's pranked us."
Ernie looked back at his comp, and posted to the flame war Doctor Inferno is stealing a space plane to go up and aim it. He signed it Ernest Mann.
Everyone else was on their phones, ordering up cars and people. Paxton was throwing in Colonel this and General that on her phone.
Ernie caught Scotch's eye and rolled out, heading for the elevators. Scotch got up and joined him.
"What do you think, Seek?"
"He's that way."
"And he feels serious." Ernie eyed Scotch.
"I'm relearning how to not make everyone in an eight foot radius feel drunk." He knotted a fist. "I think the strength is starting to come back."
Ernie nodded. "I've got a long way to go, to get back into physical shape. Mental is coming back faster."
"Let's hope we get into good enough shape to deal with Inferno, before we're face-to-face dealing with him.