With the doctor taken care of, and not wanting to take any chances that she didn't have to, Chris returned to where Ashley and I were, still smoldering with flames. She opened her mouth to speak.
"What do you want?" we asked in perfect unison, and our eyes not even blinking. We had sensed her coming near, but our resources were still focused on picking apart the puzzle of people throughout the convention area.
"Right now? I'd settle for you two being about fifty percent less creepy," she muttered almost under her breath, but loud enough to be heard. We could also pick up on her thoughts on the edge of our awareness, but with Ashley's abilities concentrated elsewhere, they were hard to pick up as anything more than background noise.
"Since I'm sure that won't be possible, would you two be able to do something about Sebastian?"
My head tilted to the side, and I could sense Ashley doing the same, as our shared gaze focused on Chris, even though neither of us was truly seeing through our eyes, or aware of much else within the hotel room.
"Sebastian?" we again asked as one.
"Also known as Doctor Strange. AKA, the man who gave me boobs."
That got our attention, and once Ashley finished peeling apart reality and fantasy on our latest target, a man named Peter who had come in a suit of Iron Man armour, and she brought our conciousnesses back into the hotel room, but left us connected.
The two of us looked at Chris, able to see him despite the lights not being on, the conflagration surrounding us throwing off more than enough light. We looked around the room and saw the collapsed form of Doctor Strange, or Sebastian as Chris told us, laying on the floor. I recognised him from the photos I had taken, and I could sense that Ashley had not seen him before, in any way that stuck in her mind. She supposed that maybe they had passed by each other at some point, but his face was lost in the crowd of people you encounter like that at these things.
"His body has not been changed by his spell," we said. "We cannot seperate him from any other reality. His magic is learned, unlike your fighting skills, or photographic memory."
Chris looked heartbroken, saddened that there was nothing to do to him that was more than a bad headache. No court of law would convict him, not unless we could convince them of the existence of magic, which may be possible, but difficult.
I sensed the thought of breaking a few limbs float through her head, and smiled. She would never do anything like that, but I wasn't above it. It was fortunate that such measures were unnecessary.
"There may be a way though." The two of us focused on him, or more Ashley was doing the focusing, since I wasn't needed for this task, but it was easier to remain connected rather than break off and reestablish once we were done with Sebastian. I was along for the ride, and that was it.
Ashley reached into his mind, and I told Chris what she was doing while she went to work. "She's taking away his ability to use magic, the knowledge he has learned over the last ten years. She's blocking away the parts of his brain he would need to ever weild magic again. If he ever even tries to look at a magic text again, his mind will only interpret it as gibberish he can't make sense of, like the rest of us."
"I hate violating a person's mind like that," Ashley said. "In this case I think I'll make an exception, though. He can't be allowed to weild such power, not without responsibility. Sebastian will never again use magic to harm others."
Chris seemed satisfied with this solution. I watched as Ashley continued her work, and when she was finished, our burning eyes returned to Chris, who had taken to sitting on the edge of the bed. She gave off waves of discomfort over being so close to the former magician, but didn't want him waking up and causing further trouble.
Our voices rejoined as our minds began to return to our grander task, "Thank you. Please continue to keep an eye out while we continued to work."
We didn't even wait for a reply from Chris. We didn't have to, I knew she would always be there to protect us, as long as we needed her. I didn't even need my borrowed telepathy to tell me that.
I kept a portion of my thoughts in the room though, to watch over her. Ashley had full reign over my mind, and I divided my focus between the two places.
While one redhead cast her powerful thoughts about, moving from hotel to hotel and picking people apart, I watched Chris as looked down at Sebastian. She reached down and grabbed him, hauling the tall, lanky man over her shoulder.
What would have once been an easy job for Chris, was more difficult for his new form, but she was grateful that Babs had to work out for her night job, making the task not insurmountable.
She carried the unconcious man back over to the doorway, opened the hotel room door, and took no more than a step outside the door before she threw the prone body of Sebastian on top of the Hulk. With his powers gone, he was no longer a threat, and Chris did not want to have to remain ever wary of him waking up and causing more trouble. She surmised it was better to be rid of him once and for all.
Chris dusted off her hands triumphantly as he lay there atop the green mass of muscles, and grinned down at him. It wasn't the best punishment in the world, but it would have to do. She was quite pleased by the fact that the lech had been beaten by a pair of girls to boot.
She returned to the hotel room after her moment of victory, and moved between a seat on the bed, and giving frequent looks out through the door's peephole. Chris was sure that nothing else would take us by surprise.
The work was slow going, as we picked over every person we could find. I started by finding those that were in costume, if Ashley herself didn't recognise them as such. She then found who they were, if she didn't know, and recreated the person from scratch minus the parts that would have made them be a Pac-Man, or a Predator, or an X-Man.
The whole process was a bit over my head, and quite cosmic. Suffice to say, going through the entire crowd one person at a time, and putting them back the way they used to be was not a fast process. After we got into a good groove, and the hang of our shared brainspace, she started taking on more than one person, adding more and more as her control and skill became more refined in our crash course.
Even so, with all the hotels we had to go through, and all the people, the process still took many hours. Ashley used my own strength, and even drew upon Chris's reserves of energy to stretch her powers out even beyond the limits she could conceive for herself. Without our aid, we may have had to travel to each hotel in turn. With our help, she was able to spread her thoughts out across the entire area, and beyond, searching for anyone who may have escaped, and gone elsewhere.
One such person was the dragon I had seen far off in the distance earlier that had spooked the helicopter. As we began to revert it, I stopped Ashley.
The dragon was too far away for her to affect it much more than what we had planned, but I had her use her telepathy to coax the dragon to land on a roof nearby, rather than changing them back into a human high above the Boston skyline.
She did as I requested, and once the dragon was moved to a safe place nearby, and curled up to sleep while the sun began to set, Ashley resumed her work. The sleeping dragon made her task easy, as she didn't have to exert extra energy and force to hold them still as they struggled. Instead, the dragon lay there and in a flashing, undulating coocoon of energy, was reverted back to a young blonde girl curled up atop the building about a mile from the hotels. Rather than have her stumble around naked once she regained conciousness, we created a pile of clothes next to her out of stray atoms, helped along by the disipating mass of the dragon's form.
Most of the work was simple, and with our ability to hold people in place, even the struggling was kept to a minimum by the villains.
The only people that even put up a fight were Ashley's fellow telepaths and telekinetics. One group could sense us coming, and try to fight back with their mental abilities, to try and shut us down. The Phoenix Force proved too strong for them; the telekinetics would try and keep their forms, but would have been overpowered as well.
They took longer than the rest, but once Ashley explained to them what had happened, and who they were, they all snapped back to themselves, like others I'd met. With those ones calmed down and aware of the situation, the fight faded from them, and they no longer fought back like others. Their changes went the quickest, once they no longer resisted. The explaining itself took too long to make it feasible to ask every single person, but it stopped the telekines from delaying the inevitable, and proved to be the quickest way of getting them back to normal.
After the sun had long since set behind the horizon, I at long last felt Ashley pull out of my mind. My vision snapped back from elsewhere in the Herriott, to the hotel room, which plunged back into darkness when the flames around Ashley and myself had faded away.
I still felt her fingers against my head, and heard a gasp as she to returned to her own body. Her hands remained where they were a moment longer, until she realised they were there, and pulled them away, like they had been stuck to a piece of flypaper.
Over the hours it took us to go through everyone, I had grown accustomed to hearing Ashley's thoughts in my head, if not the low din of everyone else's thoughts as well. The sudden silence, the normal way my mind sounded, was almost jarring, even though it was the way I'd lived my life for years.
Ashley's hands returned to the back of the chair, but when I looked back, she was not concentrating like she had done before we had set out upon our mental journey. Instead, she was catching her breath, and her head hung limp from her shoulders. She looked exhausted, and I could imagine why. Even I felt drained, and she had done the hard work.
I got up from the chair, and almost fell back over, when I discovered I was weaker than I had at first thought. I steadied myself though, and stood, albeit a little unsteady at first. My legs were stiff, as were most of my joints, from sitting for so long. Ashley lurched around the chair once it was vacated, and fell into it, her knees going slack, and her legs splayed out, and heels on the floor.
With Ashley fallen into the chair, I rememebred the third member of our party, our guardian for the past few hours, and turned away from what should be the lone redhead in the room, and over to the bed where I know Chris had been sitting when last I'd turned my thoughts to the hotel room.
Instead of my restored, male friend, there still sat a young woman in a Batgirl costume who waved a small hand at me when I looked her way.
"I think you guys forgot someone," she said, in a voice that was familiar, but not the Chris voice I had been expecting to hear.