She’s dreaming, fitfully, unable to wake up, not quite able to rest peacefully.
Perhaps this is for the best. A suitable punishment.
In the absence of new input, her mind does what it’s meant to do. It remembers.
Flashes of panic - bombs at Jason Quill’s house - Otto, running away, after somebody - Alycia Chin, gathering up bombs, handing them over for safekeeping - a dark future - a horrifically scarred other self - the return trip.
Leo. That’s when I lost Leo.
The time tunnel twisted and bucked. She realized much later what had happened. Adam had twisted the “present”, the one to which the team was trying to return. The power of his wish warped local spacetime, like closing one window and opening another one. The problem was, the Phoenix had already aimed at the old one, and was flying in fast.
There was a crack-up, like a bird hitting a window. Otto ejected, saving everyone inside of him. But Leo had been in the Phoenix cockpit. And he and the Phoenix–
We didn’t know, at the time. Adam took it especially hard. He and Leo had been bonding, after going through the difficulties of losing Sol. Both of them blaming themselves, both waiting for the other to hate him. He’d held onto a Keynome. He was ready to give it up.
I was suffering too. I wasn’t so clear-headed. “Give it to me,” I’d said. “I’ll keep it safe.”
Oh, certainly, I could do that much. I presented a case with airtight logic why an immortal gynoid was the best protector for a power like that. And Adam believed me.
The power of the Keynome could change things. Adam had proved it. And it was, basically, a machine. It was, at bottom, a very sophisticated piece of neurotech. She knew these things very, very well.
That was Concord’s last day as a superhero.
That was the day Doctor Infinity was born.