Solomon Ampère 
Solomon Ampère paced across the roof.
Under better circumstances, he would’ve adored the lightning storm over Manhattan, but it was little more than white noise right now. Background static. Solomon paused to look at his pruning hands –– they were shaking, uncontrollably. This wasn’t worry or fret or the chill of the cold rain soaked through his yellow hoodie.
Solomon was scared.
SOLOMON AMPÈRE: …this is bad, this is bad, this is bad…
He pulled a pack of cigarettes out of his pocket and took refuge under the rooftop water tower. Safe from the rain, he pulled out a cigarette and shook his arm. A narrow strip of metal protruded out from his sleeve, just above his wrist. Solomon held the cigarette in his lips and touched the metal to its end. Or tried to, anyway –– his jitters made them hard to align.
A steady stream of sparks flew out of his sleeve, and lit the paper. He took a deep drag before shaking his arm. The triangular strip disappeared up his sleeve again.
If the cigarette did anything to calm him down, the effect was marginal; he was now tapping his foot.
SOLOMON AMPÈRE: Where are you?
Solomon couldn’t help but gaze at the skyline now, lightning striking different buildings every few seconds. Here in Brooklyn, it looked like some beautifully morbid game of whack-a-mole with Zeus at the helm. Dark clouds whipped by the wind formed a dreary collage of Monet’s and Renoir's across the sky.
A few minutes later, the hum of propulsion hopped from roof to roof –– quiet at first, and then louder. Solomon stepped into the downpour, searching for the source until it landed beside him.
SOLOMON AMPÈRE: Roman, we have to get out of the city ––
ROMAN: Hold on.
SOLOMON AMPÈRE: What if we’re next, huh? Everyone’s gone silent, too. What if they’ve ––
ROMAN: Hold. On.
Roman’s grizzled face looked as bored and stoic as ever.
ROMAN: Are you smoking?
How Roman could be worried about that at a time like this, Solomon did not know. He threw his cigarette into a puddle, as if that would somehow help exonerate him.
SOLOMON AMPÈRE: You’ve been down there, Roman? Is is true? Is Richard…?
Solomon began to tremble; Roman looked vaguely disappointed.
ROMAN: The police are saying it was just a kid —
SOLOMON AMPÈRE: I don’t buy it, not for a second! Who knows how many Wrongdoers he’s put away over the years? What if one of them — what if this is someone new? Someone who’s actually capable of –– of ––… No, it doesn’t matter. We have to get out of the city.
Roman walked past Solomon and leaned against the water tower’s support beam. He shoved his hands in his leather jacket, almost indifferent to what Solomon was saying. Solomon knew what was coming next –– Roman would always feign interest before chastising him for a “grand conspiracy theory” or an “over-elaborate scheme.”
But how else was Solomon expected to believe that Richard Martino –– The Wonder! –– could be taken down by a couple gunshot wounds? There were maybe a million reasons why that didn’t make any sense –– Solomon didn’t even know where to start. And by some… nobody? Some kid? That was just too simple. Too easy. That wouldn’t happen to The Wonder — it couldn’t! Richard wouldn’t let it…
To Solomon’s surprise, though, Roman didn’t rebuke him.
ROMAN: Whoever’s responsible… I think what’s done tonight is done. I don’t believe we are in any personal danger.
SOLOMON AMPÈRE: I just… this feels impossible. Even if you’re right… Roman — what are we gonna do?
Now it was Roman’s turn to stare over the water at the Manhattan skyline. He didn’t move, his sleepy eyes taking in the sight over the city.
ROMAN: If you feel the need to leave, you may.
SOLOMON AMPÈRE: What?
ROMAN: You’re capable of taking care of yourself –– you have been for some time now. And if this is as you fear –– if the culprit is one of Richard’s more nefarious foes or some new assailant –– I don’t know what more I could do to protect you, anyway.
This isn’t what Solomon expected to hear –– not at all. Twelve years he’d trained and lived under Roman, since he was five. Since Paris. Was it all over now, just like that? The news about Richard had been crushing all on its own; now this?
Roman turned his gaze from the city back to Solomon.
ROMAN: And God knows I can’t get you to quit smoking, either.
Solomon hung his head.
SOLOMON AMPÈRE: Are… are you going to stay?
SOLOMON AMPÈRE: You don’t really think it was just some kid, though, do you? I mean —
Roman held up his hands.
ROMAN: Solomon, I don’t think your fear is misplaced, but you should prepare yourself for the possibility that this isn’t anything more than what we’ve heard. Letting your imagination run free will only serve as a dangerous distraction when the truth requires your acceptance. The world will wake tomorrow without The Wonder, and I don’t know what that will bring. You need to stay focused, you need to be smart. And you need to be careful.
This was all happening so fast… what other choice did he have?
ROMAN: If you choose to stay, however… I could use… a partner.
Solomon spun towards Roman, stunned.
SOLOMON AMPÈRE: A partner?
ROMAN: I owe it to Richard to make sure justice is done — whatever that may be. And to see that all his work here in the city doesn’t fall to the wayside. I could use your help.
SOLOMON AMPÈRE: Are you kidding me? Yes! Of course I’ll stay! We’ll step up and get to the bottom of this, Roman. You and me, just you wait –– !
ROMAN: Solomon. This is serious.
Solomon regained his composure.
SOLOMON AMPÈRE: I know. I’m sorry. We’re in this for Richard.
Roman nodded, stone faced as ever.
SOLOMON AMPÈRE: So… where do we start?
ROMAN: Home. We’ll get some rest and start our work in the morning. But Solomon, I want to stress: things are going to be different moving forward. You need to be ready for… Solomon?
Solomon was looking past him, his eyes glued to the Manhattan skyline. Roman pushed himself up and walked to the edge of the roof to see what Solomon saw.
A red cloud formed over the city, against the sea of grey and black. Slowly, the cloud churned and twirled before gaining speed, faster and faster and faster, quickly becoming a vortex. The rain and the wind picked up again, even on their rooftop across the river.
The red cloud spun and spun and spun until –– a red lightning bolt shot out! And then faded. The rain subsided, and the cloud lost its spin and its color.
SOLOMON AMPÈRE: What the hell was that?
Solomon turned to Roman and caught something he hadn’t seen in a long, long time: the look of fear. But Roman recovered just as quick. Out of his leather jacket, he pulled out a cigarette and a lighter, and lit up.
ROMAN: This is bad.