|Season 6, Episode 13|
So I spent the weekend battling The Inventor’s giant sewer alligators. And it got me thinking… Why are kids like me always being drafted into wars we didn’t start? It’s like adults are too wrapped up in their own worlds to notice the really big stuff. People emerging from weird alien cocoons, runaway kids being kidnapped by a crazy bird man clone… This is the kind of thing you’d think people would notice. But you know what I’ve found out? A problem has to get pretty gigantic before anybody notices anything at all. That’s half of heroing. Noticing things.
Jersey City, New Jersey.
-So you have no idea where these two kids might have gone? Never heard them mention someone called the Inventor?- Ms. Marvel asked two teenage boys.
-Nope. Sorry.- One of them shook his head.
-I like your costume, tho.- The other commented.
-AAAAHHH!- The first one screamed, running away. People around him followed.
-What’s wrong?- Kamala asked. -Where is everybody going? Was it something I said?-
Noticing, and not being afraid.
Kamala looked to her left and her mouth widened. -Awww! Look at you! You are just the cutest most humongous thing I have ever seen!- She ran towards the 2000 pounds dog standing on the sidewalk and hugged him tightly. The sign on his collar read: “Hello. My name is Lockjaw. I like hugs.”
Because when you decide not to be afraid, you can find friends in super unexpected places.
Khan Family Residence.
-No! Absolutely not! You may not bring this deformed monstrosity into our house!- Muneeba Khala exclaimed.
-Dude, you got a dog?- Aamir Khan asked.
-I know he looks scary, Aamir, but he’s totally sweet!-
-Everything is bigger in America… Even the canines…- Her mother whispered, examining the dog.
-You can’t have dogs in the house, sis. They’re not pak.- The young man explained.
-I’ll keep him in the back yard! I’ll take care of him myself, promise!-
-You’re gonna max out your allowance on dog food alone.-
-I don’t care!-
-Uff… What will the neighbors think?!- Muneeba shook her head in disbelief, as her husband put his arm around her back.
-It’s your funeral. I’ll try to talk Ammi and Abu off the ledge.- Her brother shrugged.
-Huzzah!- Kamala exclaimed in joy.
I’ve never had a pet before. I kind of want to see if Lockjaw plays fetch.
-Yeah, I’m looking at it too.- The teenager replied on the other side of the phone.
But I have to move fast if I’m going to stay ahead of the Inventor. Julie Harrison, the mutant girl who disappeared on her way to Xavier’s School, has been in a coma since I found her in the Inventor’s sewer laboratory. She’s the only lead I have on the kids the inventor has kidnapped. I’m running out of time.
-Look at her last status update…- Kamala noticed. -“Side trip! Met some like-minded souls on the road. So excited.”-
-She sounds like a hippie.- Bruno commented.
-The post is geo-tagged. Can you look up those coordinates?-
-Sure, gimme a second…- The other said. -That’s weird. It’s some random spot outside Bayonne. The map doesn’t show anything there.-
-Nowhere. Great. I was hoping the Inventor would keep his secrets somewhere with convenient path access. I have to go investigate. How am I gonna get there…?-
Suddenly, she head some panting behind her.
-Kamala? You still there?-
-Uhhh… Hold on, Bruno. I think my new dog just teleported into my room... Yeah, uh-huh, bye, gotta run!-
The teenage girl hung up and kneeled in front of her pet. -Did you just Bamf in here all by yourself? That’s amazing!-
Lockjaw barked something quietly.
-You really are a bizarro doggie.- Suddenly, she looked at him. -How good are you at reading maps?-
The next morning.
-How was your jogging, beta?- Kamala’s father asked, as the teenager walked inside exhausted.
-I still don’t like the idea of you running around in the street, puffing and sweating. It’s not decent.- Her mother commented.
-Don’t worry, Ammi. I only sweat when nobody’s looking.-
-Acha. Eat your breakfast and get cleaned up… We’re having visitors today.-
-What kind of visitors?-
-Bushra Aunty and Irfan Uncle.- Her father replied, still reading his newspaper.
-Didn’t they move to Houston?-
-They’re back. They have a son your age… Do you remember Kamran?-
-That kid who used to pick his nose?!-
-He was five years old then, beta. He’s almost grown up now.-
-Bushra tells me he’s at the top of his class in math and science!- Her mother added excitedly. -Applying to MIT, early admission!-
-Great. An overachiever AND a nosepicker. Do I have to hang around her all afternoon making small talk? I was planning to meet Nakia and Bruno at Funtimes Arcade…-
-Would it be so hard to put on a nice shalwar and humor your old abu for once?- Her father asked. -These are our oldest friends in the US, and we haven’t seen them in years!-
-Ugh. Fine. But I’m not going to be nice to the nosepicker.-
-There’s a shocker.- Aamir commented.
-Enough, children. I need five minutes of continuous silence so I can read my paper without having a heart attack.-
“Early admission to MIT”. One day, Ammi is going to parade these kind of guys through the living room, hoping to extract a marriage proposal. “Remember so-and-so, beta? He’s a neuroscientist now! Making $200K per year! And he’s single!”
As Kamala was walking down the stairs, she could overhear the adults conversing:
-… And every Saturday, he volunteers at the mosque, setting up chairs for the halaqa and helping the elderly to and from their cars…-
-Masha’Allah.- Kamala’s mother exclaimed. -And what do you plan to study at MIT, Kamran?-
-Microbiology, engineering and pre-law.- The young man replied.
-Wow.- Yusuf Khan muttered.
Blah, blah, blah. Mr. Perfect. Poor Ammi is probably hoping we’ll turn out to be…
-But what I really like to do is kick back in the evening and play some World of Warcraft.-
-Hi.- Kamran turned around. -You must be Kamala.-
-I… I’m… Uh…- The teenager girl struggled to get words out of her mouth, blushing. -Did you just say World of Warcraft? What faction do you play? Which class?-
-Well, my main is a warlock, but I’ve got an alt that’s… Wait, are you saying you play WoW too?-
-Okay, beta, let’s just sit down.- Her father said.
The two teenagers sat across each other.
-Totally! Sometimes I like to stay up late running dungeons while stuffing my face with…-
-…Gyros. And sometimes I watch old Bollywood movies with the sound turned way up to…-
-…Sing along with all the songs. Yeah. I do too.-
-What is going on?- Yusuf asked.
-I don’t know, but I’m kinda freaked out.- Aamir replied.
-In fact, I was going to check out this place on Newark Ave that sells remastered DVDs of Amitabh Bachchan’s old stuff… Maybe you wanna come with me?- Kamran suggested.
-Yes. Yes I do.-
-That is… If it’s alright with Uncle-ji.-
-It most certainly is not!- Kamala’s father exclaimed. -The two of you, alone? Outside?-
-It’s not a thing!- Ms. Marvel exclaimed. -It’s just… Two people checking out DVDs!- She held onto her brother’s arm. -Aamir is going too!-
-Huh?- The young man looked at his sister.
-See? Just two guys doing some shopping and one kid sister tagging along. Totally legit.-
-One minute you refuse to be nice to our guests, the next you want to get chummy on Newark Avenue?- Her father whispered to her.
-You should be happy. I mean… Isn’t this the beginning of exactly the kind of future you and Ammi want for me?- She whispered back.
-You’re sixteen! That future is years away!-
-Please, Abu. Aamir will be there the whole time.-
-Fine! But all three of you must be home before dark!- Yusuf Khan agreed.
Newark Avenue. A couple of hours later
-And then the death scene where they sing the exact same song, but in a minor key!- Kamran exclaimed.
-Total unintentional comedy!- Kamala replied.
-I’m gonna die in a minute…- Aamir muttered.
-I’m so glad you actually like Sholay.- Kamala smiled. -Most of my second-gem Pakistani friends just hate-watch it.-
-No, it’s totally awesome. Sometimes I feel like it’s the least we can do… Like, we’re not back in the motherland, we’re here speaking English and making our parents miserable…- Kamran shrugged. -At least we can watch their movies. And love them. And not laugh, except in a nice way.-
-You get it. You actually get it.-
-Nah. I just do my thing.-
I had no idea it would feel like this. I mean, I’ve seen the cheesy rom-coms and read like every volume of manga Love Rainbow Special XVI, but I had no idea it would feel like… Like…
Their hands were about to touch.
Like I’m so happy I almost wanna pee.
Suddenly, Aamir stepped in between them. -Maintain a three-foot gap at all times, please and thank you.-
-Ugh! Aamir! Don’t be weird!- Kamala exclaimed.
-When a man and a woman are alone together, the third is Shaytan!-
-Or big brother, in your case…-
-This is not a joking matter! It’s all fun and games until someone gets…-
-What was that?!- Kamran asked.
-Sounded like some kind of explosion!- Aamir replied, holding onto his sister.
-ANARCHY IN THE 201!- An electrokinetic woman screamed. -Stay out of my way, or you’re gonna get a kilowatt right to the head! Jersey City is under new management!-
-Is it me, or is she… Sparkly?- Aamir wondered.
-You’ve got to be kidding me.- Kamala muttered.
Nahrees hit the ground right in front of the Khans with an electric whip, giving Kamala time to slip away from her brother’s grasp and run to an alley.
-Aamir bhai!- Kamran helped Kamala’s brother up. -Are you all right?-
Aamir coughed a couple times. -Where’s… Kamala?-
-KAMALA!- Kamran yelled.
Great. Just when things were starting to calm down. Ever since I took down the Inventor, I’ve been thinking about Murphy’s Law. I was unprepared for that fight. I made mistakes. And I didn’t want to be unprepared again. I thought that as long as I was prepared for bad things to happen, nothing bad would happen. So I started wearing my costume under my clothes.
-Here’s how it’s gonna be, people…- The woman told the terrified citizens. -This is the beginning of a new age… An age when we stop living by rules made by lesser minds for lesser beings. You can call me Nahrees. Stay down or you’re gonna get a kilowatt right to the head! JC is under new management!-
-Yeah, except… No.- Ms. Marvel shook her head. -Jersey City is off-limits to whackos. Take your new world order crap back to Manhattan, where it belongs.-
-So… This is the famous Ms. Marvel. I’ve heard of you.-
-That’s nice. I’ve never heard of you.-
-Well, don’t get used to it. There are big changes coming… And you can either get with the program or get out of the way.- Nahrees exclaimed, charging an electric ball between her hands.
-I choose option C: GET IN THE WAY!- Kamala yelled, punching Nahrees’ stomach hard with her enlarged fist.
-You wanna waste your time defending this subspecies from itself? Fine.- Nahrees muttered, standing up again.
-Just don’t expect the rest of us to fall in line behind you.-
-Just fall the regular way, then!- Ms. Marvel stretched her leg, and made Nahrees trip.
Kamala walked in front of the villain and was ready to hit her with her fist. -Look, I don’t know who you are or what you’re rambling about, but the 201 is a villain-free zone. Consider me the neighborhood watch.-
-You think you’re so special.- Nahrees laughed. -But guess what, girl? The Inhumans are coming. It’s gonna be a brand new chapter in the whole history of planet Earth, and we are gonna answer to ourselves and no one else.-
-I… I don’t understand.-
-Very soon, you will.- Nahrees smiled and hit Kamala’s face with her electrically charged hand.
-Get… Off of me!- Ms. Marvel punched Nahrees away. -It’s always the same. There’s always that one group of people who think they have special permission to terrorize anybody who disagrees with them. And then everybody who looks like them suffers. Not again. Never again.-
I hit her hard. Harder than I’ve ever hit anything, actually. And right away, I can tell something is wrong.
-Is she okay?- A man asked, looking at the knocked out Nahrees on the floor.
-There’s a pulse… She’s alive…- A woman assured them.
-Stand back! I’m an EMT!- A man ran towards the defeated villain.
-I… I didn’t mean to…- Kamala apologized.
-Out of my way! I need to find my sister!- Aamir yelled.
Want to stay here and make sure things are okay. Need to get out of here before Aamir recognizes me. Just when I was starting to get comfortable with the idea of being different… I found out that even aliens have their fanatical extremists. Seriously, what next?
Kamala couldn’t tell, but Kamran watched her as she ran inside the alley.
-Kamala! Wave if you can see me!- Aamir yelled. -KAMALA!-
-Don’t worry…- Kamran whispered. -I’m sure she’s fine…-
-Hi! Hey! Here I am!- Kamala ran to her brother.
-Kamala…? Al-Hamdullillah! Where were you? You scared the snot out of me!- Aamir hugged his sister tightly. -Kamala, what’s wrong?- He asked her, as soon as he noticed she was crying.
-Nothing, I’m fine, I just need to…-
-Sorry to interrupt, but can I talk to Kamala alone for just a second?- Kamran asked.
-After the day I’ve had? Yes. Yes you can.- Kamala nodded.
-No way! Abu would have a coronary if…-
-Just one second, you have my word of honor.-
-Kamran?- Kamala asked once they were sure Aamir wasn’t listening. -Is something wrong? I’m sorry I disappeared, it’s just…-
-Nothing’s wrong.- Kamran assured her. -Listen… I’ve had a great time today. And… And because of that, I think there’s something you should know… I saw you. In the alley. Just now.-
This was going to happen at some point. Rushing, getting sloppy, getting caught.
-I can explain.-
-Kamala…- Kamran took her hands in his.
-I never asked for his… For my powers… I was at a party and then I was inside this bizarro cocoon…-
-Kamala…- His body started emitting some sort of bioluminescent glow.
-And I’ve never told anybody… Not on purpose, anyway… But I swear I’m not some kind of psychopath, I’m actually part alien too, and if that means we can’t be friends, then…-
-It’s okay. I am too.-
For a second, I’m not even sure what I’m seeing.
-You… You’re part alien too?-
All this time, I thought I was alone… That I was the only nerdy Pakistani-American-slash-alien in the entire universe. And then, suddenly, I wasn’t.
-Yeah. I am too.-
-How? When? Why? Where?-
-It happened the night we moved back to JC.- He explained. -I was unpacking boxes in my room… And then I passed out. When I woke up, I was in this disgusting cocoon. When I dug my way out…- He looked at his own, bioluminescent hand. -I was like this.-
-That’s almost exactly what happened to me!- Kamala exclaimed. -Except I was at a party that night, and I just kind of passed out in the street.-
-HEY!- They heard Aamir yell, and Kamran went back to his human form. -First of all, that was way longer than “talking for two seconds”, and second of all, totally not cool!-
-I… I’m sorry, Aamir bhai. There was just something I really had to say to Kamala.-
-If it was something honorable, you could say it in front of me. I’m her brother.-
-Aamir, we are not on a film set. You don’t have to make a speech every time I want to have a conversation with somebody.- Kamala yelled.
-He knows the rules.-
-Let’s just get out of here. There are going to be cops and media and traffic all the way to the tunnel.-
This whole day has been one big rollercoaster. Up and down and up again… You think you know how to go about your day without hurting people by accident. And then you remember: People hurt each other all the time.
Kamala Khan’s room. Khan Family Residence.
A small pebble hit her window.
-Huh?!- She asked, walking to the glass. -Kamran? What are you doing here?!-
-I came to see you, obvs. Come out and play!-
-Shh!- She yelled. -You want me to sneak out? You’re supposed to be a certified desi golden boy! Who never gets in trouble or does anything wrong! And is nice!-
-I’m not that nice. C’mon!-
-Last time I did this, it didn’t go so well…- She muttered, climbing out of her window.
-Don’t worry. We won’t go far. It just seemed like a waste for two people with superpowers to spend a night like this cooped up inside.-
Kamala enlarged her feet to land safely on the ground.
-Wow. That’s freaky.- Kamran commented.
-“Freaky” like gross and weird?-
-Weird, yes. Gross, definitely not.- He kneeled and helped Kamala put on her shoe. -I think you’re amazing.-
-Really.- He stood back up and took her hand. -Come on, there’s something I want to show you.-
He’s holding my hand! A boy is holding my hand! This is happening! I should let go. I should blush and act shy, like a girl from the movies. But that’s not what I do. I hold on. I think…
The two of them looked at the city, sitting on the top of a water tower.
-It’s so beautiful up here. It’s like… It’s like a painting, only smoggier.- Kamala commented.
I think I might be in love.
-I can’t believe I’ve never been up here before. I thought I knew this whole city like the back of my hand.-
-Sometimes you need to see a place through new eyes in order to understand what you’ve missed.-
-So… I know we haven’t known each other that long and if it was anybody else I wouldn’t ask this, but… Would you… You know… Show me yours?-
-Huh?!- Kamran’s eyes widened.
-Oh my God, no! Your powers! I meant would you show me your powers!-
-Well, this got awkward fast.-
-I’ve ruined everything.- Kamala buried her face between her knees.
-No, you haven’t. It’s totally fine. Here…- Kamran’s body started emitting the bioluminescent glow again. -This is me.-
-Does it… Do anything?- Kamala inquired, poking her forehead slowly. -The glow? Or is it just, you know, mood lighting?-
-Yeah, it does stuff. Give me something you don’t care about and I’ll show you.-
-Does a dried-out old pen work?- She asked, pulling it out of her pocket.
-Perfect. Check this out.- He transferred the stored biokinetic energy within his body into the pen, making it glow. -Abracadabra.- He tossed the pen aside, as it exploded.
-That’s really… Explodey.- Ms. Marvel commented. -How does it work?-
-I think it’s some kind of biokinetic charge. Like, I take all the naturally occurring energy in my body, store it up, and then transfer it into something else, all at once.-
-That’s kind of like… Like that girl, earlier today. Nahrees.- Kamala sighed.
-I’ve never hit somebody that hard before. Not hard enough to really hurt them. I’ve fought robots, giant sewer alligators… Never somebody who was weaker than I am. Physically weaker, I mean. Somebody who couldn’t get up after I knocked them down.-
Kamran put his arm around Kamala’s back and scooted closer.
-Even though she was attacking innocent people… I feel pretty gross about it.-
-Don’t! She picked a fight that she wasn’t ready for. You should never feel ashamed of the way you are.-
In a sorta out-of-body way, I realize he wants to kiss me.
He put his middle and ring finger under her chin, leaning in slowly.
-Yeah?- She hummed.
-Yeah.- He closed his eyes, their lips getting closer.
Even though I know how mad my parents would be, and the lecture I would get from my brother, I only see the stars and the city lights. It couldn’t be more… Perfect.
-Hey! This tower is on condemned property! You kids get down from there!- A police officer pointed his flashlight at the teenagers.
…Aaaand then it isn’t.
-Oops! Time to go!- Kamran laughed, taking her hand and leading her away.
I’ve broken more rules in the last twelve hours than in the previous sixteen years of my life combined… And it feels pretty great.
Corner of Coles St. and Montgomery. The next morning.
-How do I look? Does this outfit say “job interview”?- Aamir asked his sister, waiting at the bus stop. -Dear sir or madam, thank you for considering me for assistant transponder of…- The young man practiced his speech.
-Hey, Kamala!- Bruno waved, carrying two Starbucks orders. -Looking sharp, Aamir.-
-He’s got a job interview.- She explained.
-Whoa, great.- Carrelli handed Kamala her coffee. -If I knew that, I’d have brought three coffees. Where’s the bus?-
-Late.- Kamala sighed.
-You look awful.- Bruno commented, as his friend rubbed her eyes.
-I was up till awful o’clock.-
Suddenly, a car pulled over in front of them.
-Oh, great. It’s him.- Aamir commented sarcastically.
-Who?!- Bruno asked.
-Hey, Kamala.- Kamran smiled from the driver’s seat. -You guys want a ride?-
-Umm… Yes!- She exclaimed, running towards the car as Kamran opened the door for her.
-Hellooo? What? Abu and Ammi will have simultaneous coronary events if you get a lift from a dude you’ve know for like a day…- Aamir exclaimed.
-How about you guys? Want a lift to school? Excelsior Academy doesn’t start till 8:30, so I’ve got time.-
-I’ll… Uh… Keep waiting for the bus.- Bruno shrugged.
Kamran drove away.
-Who the heck was that?- Carrelli asked.
-The dreaded Kamran.-
-Since when is Kamala getting rides to school with random guys?-
-Since never. Abu is gonna be pissed.-
-Did I miss something?-
-Here’s the TL;DR: He’s the son of my parents’ old friends, he goes to a private school, he has a fancy car, Kamala has known him for approximately ten minutes, and she’s gone totally bonkers.-
-You mean… She likes him?!-
-She used to joke about the handsome rich guy from Karachi she was gonna marry someday. I never thought he’d actually show up…-
-Look. Okay. So… Okay. Let’s have this conversation. You and Kamala. It’s not gonna happen.-
-Wow. I totally have no idea what you’re talking about.-
-I’m not that stupid. My parents love you, Bruno. You’re like their adopted gora nephew or something. They think you’re upstanding and hardworking and smart. They trust you. But they’d never be okay with you and Kamala… You know.-
-No, I know that. I know she’s not supposed to date. But I thought, you know, someday, maybe…-
-What? That you’d get married? You’re seventeen, bruh! She’s sixteen! And even if you were both thirty-five, you’re Catholic, she’s Muslim, you’re Italian, she’s Pakistani…-
-We’re not that different. We’re both from immigrant families. My Nonna is as crazy-religious as you are, no offense.-
-She and my pop-pop got married when they were nineteen back in Napoli and worked their way to the US. I know where you guys are coming from, cause I’ve been there.-
-I know, dude. I’m not saying you’re not a good guy. But my parents expect Kamala to marry someone like us. Because they don’t want our heritage to die out. They want their grandkids to feel connected to their religion, their language… They want their daughter to be proud of who she is, and to pass that pride down to the next generation. If you care about Kamala, you’d want those things for her too.-
-But… I can’t not love her. I’ve tried.-
-It was never gonna be easy, Bruno.- Aamir said getting on the bus. -Love never is.-
-I’ve never been driven to school before by somebody who wasn’t a first-degree biological relative.- Kamala commented happily.
-If that’s a compliment, then thanks.- Kamran smiled.
-Are we down near the harbor? This isn’t the way to school.- She noticed.
-Would it kill you to skip a couple of classes?-
-Ummm, yes? I have homework to hand in… Quizzes to take…-
-You’re a superhero, Kamala. Your destiny is a lot bigger than homework and quizzes.-
-What’s going on? You said you were going to take me to school!- She yelled.
-Change of plans.- He replied sternly.
-This is so not okay! Stop the car…-
-Fine. Here. Stopped.- Kamran rolled his eyes, pulling over.
Kamala got down, and the young man followed.
-I can’t believe this! What are we doing here?- She slammed the door shut.
-I want you to take you to meet someone. Someone very important to me.-
-I didn’t agree to meet someone at the docks in the middle of a school day!-
-Would you relax? Don’t be so uptight!-
-Look… What if Nahrees was right? Why should we hide what we are and play by the rules of a society that wasn’t built for us?- He put his hands on her shoulders. -We’re better than all these people, Kamala. There’s no reason for you to keep wasting your energy to protect people who don’t believe what you believe. Who can’t do what you can do.-
-What are you saying?- Kamala asked, as Kamran’s body started emitting the glow again.
-I’m saying it’s time for Ms. Marvel to take her rightful place with the rest of her real family.-
-Get away from me.- She started walking away from him. -I almost kissed you last night… I went behind my parents’ backs to sneak out with you… I thought it meant something…-
-It does.- He replied. -More than you know.- He pressed his index finger behind her head, knocking her out.
Where am I? I can’t even tell if I’m actually awake… Yup, I’m awake.
Kamala stood up, ready to run away. But before she could take a single step, she was zapped by lightning in the back of her head, making her fall to the ground again.
Get up, keep going, get up, keep going…
-You’re right, Kamran.- An unknown voice said behind her. -She’s very persistent.- Kamala turned around and saw Nahrees and Kamran, and a monstrous purple man sitting between them.
-Hello, Kamala. My name is Lineage. If you cooperate, nobody else needs to get hurt.-
You always think you know who the good guys are.
-Welcome, Kamala. I think you already know my young friends, Kamran and Nahrees.-
-We’ve met.- Nahrees muttered bitterly.
Until the guy you have an enormous crush on zaps you with his powers and kidnaps you.
-I told you I wanted to go to school. I told you to stop the car and let me out… And instead you brought me here against my will. After I said no.-
-I had a feeling you’d change your mind once you saw what we’re going to offer you. You just needed a little… Persuasion.-
-That is incredibly gross. You are incredibly gross.-
-That’s not how you seemed to feel when you snuck out with me the other night.-
-I never thought anything like this would happen! I thought… I thought it meant something else when we were together… Something good…-
-Who’s gonna believe that? You got in my car of your own free will. As far as anybody knows, you chose to be here. You put yourself in this situation.-
Is he right? Is this my fault?
Kamala fell to the ground and started sobbing.
-That’s enough, Kamran.- Lineage stood up. -Kamala’s had a shock. Let’s give her a little time to adjust.-
-Just… Just tell me Lockjaw and my friends are okay.-
-Don’t worry about that right now. Let’s talk about you.- He kneeled in front of her and put his fingers under her chin. -Kamran only wants what’s best for you, Kamala. Same goes for me. You’re a very powerful being, kid. You deserve to forge your own path. Things are going to change. Change for the better. I want you to be part of those changes. I want you to be part of the family.-
-What if I say no?-
-I gotta tell you, honey… That wouldn’t make me very happy.-
Keep him distracted.
-Can I, uh, think about it?- She stuffed her hand inside her jacket’s pocket.
Frantically mash buttons on the phone. Pray Bruno has his phone switched up.
-And the molecular weight of the two titrates must equal zero, otherwise the resultant mixture becomes…-
Suddenly, Bruno’s phone started ringing.
-Mr. Carrelli! What have I said since day one? Phone off and in your bag, or I’ll have the science club strip it for copper.-
-Two rings, then hang up… It’s the code.- Bruno whispered. -Kamala…-
Bruno sprinted out of the classroom at full speed. -Sorry, doc! Family emergency! Hold on, Kamala…- He whispered, running through the hallways.
-I… That sounds… I’m flattered, really, but…-
-What’s that in your pocket?-
-Definitely not a cell phone.-
-I had you brought here on good faith, to offer you an opportunity…-
-GOOD FAITH?! OPPORTUNITY?! Your little henchman tricked me and you stuck me in a jail cell! I’ve thought about your offer…- She looked down and then up again at Lineage. -My answer is no!- She yelled, throwing her phone at the Inhuman. Kamala stood up and ran away from the villains.
Beneath the guilt, the betrayal, the feeling that I’ve failed, there’s something else…
-Hey, Siri!- Bruno yelled at his phone, running through the streets of Jersey City.
-Open app “Find Friends”!-
-Okay, Bru-No. Opening Find Friends…-
-Retrieve GPS data for contact “Kamala Khan”!-
-Okay, Bru-No. Retrieving GPS data from Kamala Khan’s iPhone now.
Be zen. Breathe. Don’t freak out. You can do this…
Suddenly, Kamala’s feet were shocked by Nahrees’s ground electromagnetic field.
-There’s no way out! There’s one of you and lots of us!- The evil Inhuman yelled, following her closely.
I’m disembiggening. Nahrees must have shocked me with enough voltage to make my cells seize up.
Suddenly, Kamala came face to face with two of Lineage’s henchmen.
Have to get creative now. Take advantage of their size instead of mine. Move fast…
Ms. Marvel slipped past the guards and stretched her leg, making them trip and bringing Nahrees down with them.
… And that’s how you level up.
Kamala ran through the lair’s hallways, unable to find an exit.
With my epic diversion working so well, I might actually get out of here in one piece.
-Door, door, must find door…- She looked around desperately. -Which way, which way?! Everything looks the same!-
I’ve reached a dead end…
-Hi. You look lost.- Kamran said mockingly behind her back.
Maybe I spoke too soon… I might not make it out of here in one piece after all.
-What do you want me to say, Kamran? You won? You outsmarted me? You’re right about everything? Fine, whatever. You won. Now let me leave.-
-No, that’s not what I want. I want you to turn around, walk back the way you came, stand in front of Lineage, and apologize for making me look like an idiot.- He held his fist up.
He’s going to hit me. He’s actually going to hit me.
-But since I know you’re not gonna do that, we can settle it right here instead.-
Suddenly, I feel calm. I don’t feel ashamed anymore, or guilty. I realize something very important. He might look like a handsome prince, but he’s actually a total buttwipe.
-You want a showdown? You want to pretend this is the big climactic battle of your own personal action film? Fine with me.- Ms. Marvel enlarged her hand, grabbing Kamran’s. -A little advice, though… When you make a fist, your thumb goes on the outside. Kamala pushed Kamran against a wall hard.
I’ve faced giant robots, bird-men, Viking dudes… Never a broken heart. I don’t know how to fight this feeling. I gave him power over me… Power over what I do, power over my identity. No more.
-That’s the spirit.- Kamran smiled. -Let yourself go a little. You really want to save people? Stop being afraid of your own power. Toughen up.-
-You think being tough is the same as being mean. I thought you were this romantic hero. But you’re not even a villain. You’re just a bad guy’s lackey in a pair of nice shoes.- Ms. Marvel tried to punch Kamran but he dodged the blow, pulling out a marble out of his jacket.
-You’re cute when you’re angry.- He smirked, charging up the small item in his right hand. -Too bad we couldn’t work things out.- He tossed it at the hero, who grabbed it with her enlarged hands.
I can feel the marble trying to blow up. So I squeeze harder.
Kamala tossed the marble back at Kamran, as it exploded against him.
Turnabout is fair play, right?
-Don’t… Think… For a second… That this is over…-
-Oh, it’s over, Kamran. We are so breaking up.-
-KHAAAAAAAN!- He screamed, as she ran away.
Ms. Marvel ran through the hallways until she spotted something she found extremely familiar, and got close to it. -Is this… What I think it is?- She smiled widely. -Into the garbage chute, flyboy.- She told herself, sliding out of the lair. However, it wasn’t a smooth landing. She hit the ground hard, getting knocked out.
-Oh, my God.- Bruno exclaimed, running towards Kamala. -Please be okay…- He kneeled besides her. -Wake up… Come on, wake up…-
Suddenly, Lockjaw’s teleporting light shone upon the teenagers.
-Goodness, Lockjaw… You were right to summon me.- A woman with inhumanly long red hair exclaimed.
-Who… Who are you?- Carrelli inquired.
-Someone who can help.-
-Please… She’s really hurt.-
-Yes, she is. We don’t have much time.-
-Lockjaw! Attilan, now.-
-JCPD! Stop right there! That’s an…- Three police officers ran to the heroes, holding them at gunpoint. -…Order…- However, they had already vanished.
-So you know that crazy art deco alien city in the river? We are totally in it.- Bruno told his best friend, who was asleep inside a chamber full of a semi-solid substance right next to him. -Your phone has been ringing non-stop. Your parents are probably freaking out. That cop recognized you, by the way. The one who showed up at the Circle Q after Vick’s stupid thing. I’m thinking he’s gonna be a problem. You gotta rethink your work-life balance, K. If you keep ditching social studies to fight crime, Mrs. Van Boom is gonna give you, like, a B or something… Yeah, you don’t have to say anything. I’ll just keep giving you minute-by-minute updates until you wake up.-
Suddenly, two figures walked inside the room, followed by Lockjaw. The first was a hunched alien-like humanoid figure, wearing long robes. The second one was the red-haired woman who had rescued Kamala.
-How is she?- The first asked.
-Uh… Goopy?- Bruno shrugged. -Who are you?-
-What’s with the blue gunk, anyway?- Carrelli asked Vinatos. -I was thinking it was some kind of cellular peptide mixed with liquid oxygen, but maybe I’m wrong.-
-You certainly know your biochemistry. You’re almost right. It’s a bath of adhesive neuropeptides and oxygen. It supports her body’s natural ability to heal itself.-
-Is it… You know… Working?-
-Let’s wake her up and find out.- Vinatos pushed a button on the screen and Kamala woke up.
-Hey!- Bruno exclaimed.
-What the what? Where am I? Why am I covered in slime?!-
-Dude, am I ever glad to see you upright.- Bruno sighed in relief.
-Hello, Kamala Khan.- Queen Medusa spoke up. -And to answer your question, you’re in Attilan. You are home.-
-… I’m pretty sure my home is on Grove Street.-
-Your house is on Grove Street. But your home, your origin, is here, among your people.-
-Yes, Kamala. Long ago, one of your human ancestors was genetically altered by the Kree, an alien race. That genetic legacy has been passed down through the generations… To you. You’re Inhuman.-
-I’m just gonna come out and say it, big guy…- Lineage said, walking towards Kamran. -I’m disappointed.-
-I’m… I’m sorry, Lineage… I really screwed this up…-
-Heh. You haven’t lied yet.-
-Do you want me to go after her?-
-Nah. Let’s wait. See what she does next. There are other ways to make her pay.-
-But… If we lose Kamala… That’s her whole bloodline, poof, out of our control. She’s the only one in the Khan family with Inhuman powers.-
-No.- Lineage smiled evilly. -She isn’t.-
- This episode is based on Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 #8-9 and #13-15.