|Date posted||November 12, 2011|
Taylor is due to return to school tomorrow, and Danny, seemingly aware of the stress she is under, has taken her shopping. As opposed to the expensive trip with Lisa, this time she mostly buys more mundane items, or things like shoes that she takes her time to choose.
The disruption of Bakuda's bombing rampage on everyday life is seen in more detail, with soldiers serving as armed security and active presence from Protectorate members near the mall, along with the city-wide curfew. Battery and Shadow Stalker are the members on duty, and Taylor takes a moment recollecting stories of each; Battery's teammate Assault is often thought to be her brother or boyfriend, or even both, while Shadow Stalker was aparently a vigilante who agreed to join the wards rather than be jailed after going too far. Taylor muses on whether she should feel dislike of Shadow Stalker on principle, with her being Grue's nemesis and using lethal weaponry when she is not allowed to carry it by her probation.
While Taylor and Danny are waiting to leave the mall, Alan Barnes appears and engages in conversation with Danny. Emma appears shortly after, but Taylor ignores her greeting and stares at her unrelentingly. The fathers remain unaware of the tension between the two, and continue a normal conversation until Taylor becomes angry when Emma's smile reminds her of various bullying incidents, and lashes out at Emma.
Shadow Stalker quickly seizes Taylor's arms and situates herself between the two girls. Alan is shocked by the unexpected attack and Danny is immediately apologetic, desperately trying to explain that her recent head injury will cause Taylor to suffer mood swings, but he did not expect it to be this bad. Shadow Stalker scolds him for allowing Taylor to be in a place with so much built up fear and panic when she is unstable, however Taylor's recent experiences working with capes has made it easy for her to see though costumes and sees Shadow Stalker as merely a teenage girl taking authority over an adult. She doesn't bow easily to this authority, having to restrain herself from laughing and still attempting to have her explaination heard as she is bound with a plastic wrist-tie and ordered to go somewhere away from anyone she might harm.
Once back in Danny's car, he tells Taylor he's not mad about the incident and it is completely understandable given her head injury and current trouble at school. Taylor manages to take the chance to convey to him that Emma is behind the bullying at school and has been from the start. In spite of the nearing curfew deadline, Danny pulls the car over and hugs Taylor, allowing her to take the time she needs to cry and talk.
- This chapter expands on the career of heores in the protectorate with Battery.