Schulmanator: Really? You're not gonna trust the word of not just one, but TWO cosmically-powered girls? That doesn't seem very wise...
spursrule14: Thank you! It is always an honor to be included in your weekly list!
PREVIOUSLY on The Best Defense: Media Week is approaching its close, and we're prologue-ing A Perfect Reality! Coyote Versus is the newest Defender! Juliet's upset about it! The Offenders behind bars! Oh, and Morning Angel still thinks she's gonna escape. Rather optimistic, eh?
Captain Willis stood in the control room of the Defenders HQ looking at Titus and Sensational Girl dubiously.
Captain Willis: Well, I sure do hope you guys know what you're doing... Coyote Versus, he wouldn't pass our background checks if he applied to the Power Unit.
Titus: Yeah, but he didn't. You know as well as the rest of us that in this line of work, sometimes you have to trust your instincts, you have to take risks.
Captain Willis: Yeah, but I also know in this line of work that sometimes those instincts are wrong and sometimes those risks either don't pay off or blow up in your faces.
Titus nodded and glanced at Sensational Girl.
Sensational Girl: I can tell though, somehow. He's not lying to us.
Captain Willis: So, among the amazing power-boosting powers, you've developed super-lie-detecting?
Sensational Girl: Well... No, but-
Captain Willis: But nothing. You have to be careful. The guy walks in here out of the blue, zaps Halloran for us, sure, but he has a list of broken laws in his wake miles and miles long. If you're wrong about this, if your super-lie-detecting powers are actually super-full-of-[male bovine excrement], there's gonna be some major hell to pay. You have to be careful.
Titus: We know, Cap. You have to trust us a bit more. I know you've been in the game longer than all of us combined, but we do have an idea of what we're doing.
Captain Willis: Yeah, I sure do hope so.
Captain Willis sighed then looked at Sensational Girl.
Captain Willis: I have some info on your super-stalker.
Sensational Girl: Oh, god, you're not actually going to like, call him that, are you?
Captain Willis: Oh, yes we are. We caught him trying to peep into [PMBS anchor] Lisa Arvanis' bathroom window. He's filling out the paperwork at a local PMPF office and we're gonna keep a close eye on him. Turns out he had a notebook full of his stalkings. You're not the first, and he's still been watching you even after calling you a harlot.
Sensational Girl: How the heck did Morning Angel know that he called me that?
Captain Willis: We don't know that it wasn't a coincidence for sure. But coincidence or not, that combined with the request to visit her, she does have someone on the inside helping her.
Titus: Fearless never ignored coincidences.
Captain Willis: They're never worth ignoring. We've started an investigation, but at least we have the super stalker secured. Poor Lisa...
Titus: She's a hot blonde girl, just like you, Sensational Girl. Maybe he's got a certain type.
Captain Willis: Well, we've got our eyes on him good now, but he seems pretty slippery. Maybe you're right and he does have some kind of power and we'll be given the slip, but we'll do our best to keep tabs on him from now on.
Sensational Girl: Thanks, Captain Willis...
Captain Willis: No problem. Anyways, the reason I'm here is to meet Dr. O'Sullivan downstairs.
Titus: He told me the new UPNs will be ready soon, but I didn't think it would be this fast.
Captain Willis: No, they're not ready yet, but there are other things going on outside of your jurisdiction. I'll talk to you guys later. Let Cosmette and Juliet know I said hello.
Sensational Girl: Okay! Bye, Captain Willis!
The pair watched the policeman walk out the room and then looked at each other.
Titus: Don't you have that taping of the Orange Hour soon?
Sensational Girl: Don't remind me. I have to go to the stupid thing tomorrow. At least Juliet will be there to keep me company.
Titus: Yeah, she seems pretty upset about the whole Versus thing, though.
Sensational Girl: Can you blame her? She's so suspicious of him, and we're all just ignoring her suspicions like crappy teammates. We probably should be like, more suspicious of him, but-
Titus: But both you and Cosmette are completely convinced that he's being truthful with us. I trust your cosmic powers, and I'd like to give someone an honest shot to prove that he's a good guy.
Juliet: You know what, I would, too.
Juliet suddenly walked into the room and sat down with them. Sensational Girl looked at her, surprised by her appearance from seemingly thin air.
Juliet: What? Aren't I allowed to change my mind?
Juliet smiled, letting them know that she wasn't offended in the least by them.
Juliet: I did some soul-searching and, as crazy as it sounds, I think that maybe the old bad guy really is an old good guy in bad guy's clothing. He said he wants to help, and he's helping Cosmette right now, and maybe he can help you with your upset stomach when you use your powers, Sensational Girl. If he's offering, and you say he's honest and that we can trust him, then I should be happy that we have an extra pair of hands that will punch evil right in its silly face.
Titus: Well, that's... enlightened-sounding, Juliet.
Her sudden change of heart was slightly unnerving following the black clouds of displeasure that had quite literally been following her around all day the day before.
Titus: I'm glad we've all come down on the same side. You sure you're okay with this, though? We were just saying that we'd hate to completely ignore a trusted teammate's warnings.
Juliet: Yeah, I'm okay, really. I talked with one of my friends, and she helped me put it into perspective. I'm okay with it, really, honestly, from the bottom of my heart. Anyways, I-
Titus: Alert, someone's on the roof!
Juliet: Let's go!
Juliet was already off her feet, flying out of the room with Titus and Sensational Girl on her heels.
Sensational Girl: Who is it? Who's on our roof?
Titus: Don't know.
Titus' voice sounded in her ears over their communicators.
Cosmette: Gragus! It's Gragus!
Sensational Girl: Gragus? What does he want?!
Coyote Versus: Hey, you guys, why haven't I gotten an earpiece yet? I had to hack yours to get in on your conversation after the alert. I thought we were teammates.
Titus: Versus, we'd have gotten you one before too long. Have you no patience, man?
Coyote Versus: Nope.
Sensational Girl, instead of following Titus and Juliet for the stairwell, stopped at the elevator and took that up, working to catch her breath before facing her teammates and their sort-of ally atop the building. She really hoped she didn't look too ragged when she ran out onto the roof, but-
Coyote Versus: What took you?
Coyote Versus was there with Cosmette almost as soon as Gragus touched down. Juliet and Titus were not there too much later. But Sensational Girl and her elevator ride made them wait in the cold, early winter wind (not that any of the special people could be bothered to feel such a trifling thing). She let out a long sigh and continued getting her breathing under control as she joined them in front of the incredibly imposing Gragus.
Gragus: You wear the role of hero well. I can tell how skilled you have become even in the short time since our last meeting.
Sensational Girl: Uh... Thank you...
Sensational Girl stopped behind Titus and Cosmette and looked up at Gragus with trepidation. Imposing did not begin to describe him.
Gragus: Defenders. I come to call on my favor. You will be my team for the time being. I trust you are in contact with Fearless and Eikyou. They know of the arrangement.
Titus: We actually haven't heard from them in a few days. They mentioned the business they finished in America, and then left for Japan. This is a bit of a surprise.
Gragus: Surprise or not, there is something very precious we must guard.
Cosmette: Guard? Where? In the Rockies?
Gragus looked at her, his face softening into something approaching fondness.
Gragus: No, Cosmette, here in Port Matthew. You must realize how special this place is. It is the entire reason for its existence.
Titus: What? Its entire existence? What do you mean?
Coyote Versus: Wait, you mean you haven't figured it out? What kinda brainless outfit did I join here?
Gragus: Silence, halfling, else you incur my wrath. To lose one big mouth only to hire a bigger one, you Defenders baffle me in your recruitment.
Titus: Well, we didn't exactly recruit him...
Gragus glanced at him, his expression looking almost... amused... then went back to his reason for being there.
Gragus: Defenders, your home island is not the site of numerous insane coincidences. There is a reason you are all here, a reason why of the small number of cosmic beings on this planet two reside here, and a reason I am interested in it so. This place, it is a Nexus Of All Realities. And soon, it will again be under attack...