Home » The Crystal Hall » Fan Fiction » Skid (Powers can lead to a slippery situation)
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|Skid [message #56719]
||Sat, 14 April 2012 06:51
Registered: April 2012
Location: New England
What I can't understand is this: how did I get here? Who gets into a situation like this? I'm sliding downhill at about a gajillion miles an hour and unable to slow down. Behind me is the truck full of drug dealing criminals. I can hear them hooting and shouting. They have guns, I saw them, but they aren't using them. Not yet.|
I'm a modern kind of guy, I watch the news, I surf the web, I should have known what it meant when my eyes changed color. Like most of the problems that have come up in life, I just tried to ignore it, thinking it was my imagination, or that maybe I was making it up. For several days my eyes became super sensitive to light. It came on right after a campus party that my roommate dragged me to. Two beers in one of these frosted white plastic cups and that was it for me.
The music was too loud, and too... something, I don't know, the voice was garbled and drowned under some kind of synthesised beat that was filled with too many sounds. The room had gradually resolved into a seething mass of undulating bodies that looked more like some kind of mindless rutting amoeba than people have a good time. I needed air, the room felt tight. I wished that I hadn't left my inhaler in my dorm room.
My asthma isn't really all that bad, and I think that most of the times I've needed to use the inhaler have been psychosomatic, but hey, if I couldn't breath before I used it and I could after, that was all I needed to know. But I'd left the inhaler back in our dorm room, across campus.
So I left the party and was going to walk back. It was one of those cold nights that New England gives you. Crisp, like biting into a granny smith apple. The cold seemed to bother me less tonight than I would have expected. It did have the expected effect of temporarily clearing up my breathing.
I didn't grow up here, my dad was in the Air Force so we moved a lot, but his last duty station was Hanscom and the girl I was dating my senior year was going here, UMass in Dartmouth. I followed her and then we broke up less than a month into my freshman year.. Dad and mom had moved on to the next assignment since then and I was kind of stuck.
Of course, Mom had offered to buy me a plane ticket out to join them in England, but I was in college now, and even a month of the relative freedom (compared to the rules of living as an USAF dependant) made me gently turn her down. No, I'd make do. And I had. I had a couple of good friends and was a part of a regular d&d club (never any shortage of people looking for a sucker willing to run a game for them).
So, cold November night. Throbbing party with no real interest to me behind me. I was only a few steps away from the door when the "music" got louder and then muffled again. "Hey, man, you leaving already?"
Constant is my roommate. Its not his real name, he comes from a Russian family and his real name has too many consonants and not enough vowels. Somehow, he got stuck with the nickname Constant back in high school and he'd gotten used to it. He was blond, with his hair cut back to almost military severity. His lean frame was only just starting to fill out. He was a gamer geek, like me, but had recently discovered the gym, and had become obsessed with it, learning just how easy it was to put on just a little muscle, and how much the ladies liked that look. It was what had gotten us invited to this party.
"Yeah, man," I told him wearily. "I'm tired, and I ought to get some studying done in the morning if I want to pass Computer Science next week."
Constant just stared quietly at me for a second and then said, "Sure, okay, see you back at the room." That was kind of weird, but... whatever.
I let it go and chalked it up to his being drunk and my being tired.
The next morning I woke up to the drone of my cellphone's alarm dragging me awake. And my eyes felt like someone had lined the inside of my eyelids with sandpaper. What the hell, man, I only had two beers, and suddenly I get the hangover? Not fair.
Constant's bed looked like he hadn't slept in it, so I assumed he'd gone back to one of the girls he'd been dancing with's room. I went about my preparations for the day in robot mode. Some cool water in a paper towel helped my eyes some, but it got bad again when I went outside. It wasn't technically winter yet, but the sky had that clear, bright blue that you find in winter days. The few clouds were sort of whispy strands rather than fluffy puffs.
The UMass Dartmouth campus looks like it was designed by the set designer from Planet of the Apes (the original, with Charleton Heston). Flat, angular concrete buildings that somehow seem to suggest otherworldliness with the second and third floors often larger than the ones below. Path's connected the buildings and shallow stairs (too short to be comfortable taking one at a time, too long to take two at a time) changed elevation.
I didn't have class right away, so I went to the library, found a quiet corner and studied as best I could with my eyes aching. As the day went by, the ache faded to the background. I went to my classes, met with the guys after for d&d in one of the dorm common areas, and went back to my room.
From the looks of his bed and the books on his side of the room, Constant still hadn't been back. I didn't think anything of, sometimes he was like that. I just went to sleep, more tired than I could remember being since... well pretty much ever.
No sign of him the next morning either, and that was a little worrying. At the very least he should have come back to get a change of clothes. But there was no sign of him. My eyes still hurt that morning, but it was better than yesterday. The real beginning of the oddness happened that day, though. When I got out of bed I fell down. It was weird, like I put my feet on the floor and for some reason they just didn't find purchase. I fell, narrowly missing hitting my forehead on the edge of my desk.
I just sat there for a moment, with hair falling into my eyes. Huh, getting a little long. I took a deep breath, blew my hair out of my face and stood up. Everything seemed to work like normal that time, so I went about my day.
More things seemed out of place after my shower though. I had to tighten my belt an extra notch to keep my pants from slipping. I am not one of those guys that likes to show off my boxers to the world by wearing my pants down past my hips. That just looks like you were too dumb to buy pants that fit. My dark hair looked a little shaggy to me, it might have been time for a trim. In my early teens I'd had a smattering of freckles, light ones, that had crossed from one cheekbone to the other via my nose, they'd faded years ago, but seemed to be making a comeback, I chalked it up to getting more sun this year. My eyes were making their transition from brown to red, but at that moment it was hard to tell anything for sure other than that they looked different. It didn't seem odd all at once, I don't look in the mirror all that often.
I fell down twice more that day. Each time was embarrassing but not particularly painful. I also kept having to clear my throat. My voice was scratchy sounding, a little reedy. Between my eyes aching, my apparent lack of coordination, and my throat I just assumed that I was coming down with a sinus infection or something. The next day was a Saturday, so I just planned to sleep in and kick it with OJ and rest.
Still no sign of Constant when I got back to the room. He wasn't answering his cell. Now I was getting a little worried, so I called a couple of our friends and nobody had seen him since the party. He'd vanished for four days once before, so I just had to be patient and wait.
I spent all of the next day in bed, except for bathroom breaks and totally managed to miss what happened to me over that day.
I woke up after midnight when I heard the door open. I looked out from under the blanket, expecting it to be Constant, finally coming back. Wearily, blinking sleep out of my eyes I said, "Dude, where have you been?" I sat up and something on my chest... bobbled. It was such a disturbing sensation that I put a hand to my chest and felt them for the first time. Breasts. I had breasts. When did I get breasts? My other hand joined the first and I completely forgot about Constant.
That was when I heard the click of the knife being opened. I looked up, both hands still holding chest and looked into the face of a stranger holding a knife. His black gloved hand came up, and he pressed one finger to his lips in a gesture everyone over the age of two knows. He was warning me not make a sound.
|Re: Skid [message #56724 is a reply to message #56719 ]
||Sat, 14 April 2012 09:37
Registered: April 2012
Location: New England
Danger does weird things to people. You never really know how you'll react until you find yourself faced with it. For me, it seemed like things slowed down. Like I had all the time in the world to figure out what I was going to do. |
I watched the man with the knife as he came forward, slowly, with a deliberate gentleness in his posture. I could see that he was tense under that though, his gentleness was a lie. I don't know how I knew, I just did.
His clothes were dark, but not particularly noteworthy besides that, dark jacket, with the zipper open, dark sweatshirt underneath, dark jeans, black hightop sneakers. He had gloves on his hands and a black ski cap rolled up so it just covered the top of his head and left his face revealed. Even in the dark I could make out a few more details, neat beard, thick eyebrows, thin lips.
"What... what do you...?" I started to ask in a whisper, but his expression changed, the thick dark brows met over the bridge of his nose, his eyes narrowed and the faux gentleness left his posture. He came forward, empty hand reaching for my face while the other hand, the one with the knife slipped back, behind him. I knew what that was, he was going to put a hand over my mouth to stop me from making noise, and stab me.
Who says you don't learn anything from d&d? I knew what I needed to do, I needed to move, get off the bed before he could grab me, or stab me, or whatever he was going to do. Once more, I got the impression that things were moving in slow motion around me as I threw myself out of the bed and away from the man.
I had expected it not to work, I'd expected to be tangled in the sheets and dead. He reacted to my movement and grabbed, succeeding only in getting a handful of blanket, which I left behind. Suddenly I was on the other side of the room, tripping over Constant's bed and nearly hitting my head on the wall. I could smell something plastic burning. The man was over near my bed trying to figure out, just as I was, how I'd covered the distance so quickly. I mean it was only about eight feet or so, but still. Blink of an eye and all that.
In an rpg, this would have been the moment where the hero suddenly realized that he was possessed of superhuman abilities and turned them on his attacker. But the guy had a knife, and I had no self defense training at all. I mean, come on, who really expects to get attacked by the knife wielding assailant in the middle of the night.
I did what any sane person would have, I made a break for the door.
It was less than graceful, my feet kept slipping, like the floor was made of ice or something, and I was already falling when I grabbed for the handle of the door, hoping to use that to steady myself as I opened the door. My fingers refused to grab the handle. I mean, I closed my hand around it, tried to turn the knob, but it felt odd, like I couldn't get any grip on it. My fingers slid over and off the handle, all the while I kept moving forward and I could smell that burning plastic smell again. I hit the door head first, expecting shooting pain and maybe blissful unconsciousness.
That wasn't what happened. The door seemed to give, part before me, and the world went red for a moment, red and orange, with just a few hints of blue. Wood smoke joined the burned plastic smell and I was out in the hallway, twisting as I fell, hitting the wall back first with a jarring sensation.
I looked back at the door to my dorm and saw blackened wood dangling from the frame. Somehow I had just burned a hole through my door! I only had a moment to take it all in as the man appeared at the smoking hole and glared at me. He was younger than I'd thought, the beard added the illusion of age to his face, but he was smooth faced around it and he carried himself like one of my peers. He was maybe twenty five at most. Pale, like he spent most of his time indoors, or only came out at night.
He started to step through the hole I'd left, so I figured that I'd better get out of there. My feet still wouldn't grip the floor, they slip awkwardly around me until I realized that my fingertips were getting traction. I made a sound, somewhere between "Ulp" and "Ahhh!" and windmilled my arms furiously, fingertips grazing the wall and the floor, sending me pinballing away from the man.
He swore something in a language the was not English, but that I'd heard before. When Constant had moved in this year, his grandmother, a first generation Russian imigrant had come with the family to see his school. She didn't speak a lick of English. I was pretty sure this guy was speaking Russian.
Initially, he wasn't that far behind me. I felt his fingers curling in my nearly shoulder length (!!) hair. His fingers brushed my scalp as he closed his hand into a fist. I expected my head to snap back, but it didn't happen. Whatever was making everything so slick... Wait, he wasn't sliding around, just me. It was making me slick. My hair just slipped right through his fingers without any resistance.
The hallway ended in a "T" and one way lead to the stairs, the other to the elevator. It became pretty apparent, though, that I had little to no control over when I might turn unless I bounced off something, which didn't seem to hurt as much as I'd expected. Ahead and around the corner I heard the ding of the elevator arriving and took a chance.
I never really paid that much attention in science beyond what I needed to make my computer work but I was finding things coming back to me pretty quickly. What I was looking at was... friction? I was somehow immune to friction? Resistance imparted to relative motion... I had no friction. Except in my fingertips. Which I was apparently able to used to propel myself. Could I also use them to steer? I brushed my right hand along the carpet and relieved to find that I drifted to the left. I could hear the man chasing me down the hall, and also I could hear doors opening. But I was listening for one door in particular.
When I got to the intersection, my left hand hit the wall and for a split second clung to the corner, slingshotting me around it just as I heard the elevator doors open. The turn caused me to pick up speed and I looked into the open elevator at the blond crewcut of Constant who was peering around the edge of the door at me.
Then I started spinning. Which was not cool at all. The turn had also wrenched my arm pretty badly, I didn't think it was dislocated, but it hurt. I mean, who knew that the velocity of fourty mile an hour turn was something a shoulder wasn't meant to take?
I wound up sideways facing the way I'd come, slamming into the back of the elevator with a jarring impact. "Close the door! Close the fucking door!" I shouted at Constant. The man turned the corner, his jacket swinging wide open revealing his shoulder holster and pistol. He didn't even slow down, doing a passable impersonation of me as he barrelled down the hall at me. At us, I guess.
Constant was jamming his thumb onto the close doors button
The doors slid shut and moment later the elevator shook with the impact of him hitting it. Constant was already pushing the button for the ground floor. The elevator started moving before the thug thought to hit the button for the doors to open on his side.
Constant looked down at me and gave a sheepish grin, "Hey, Walt," he said.
|Re: Skid [message #56763 is a reply to message #56719 ]
||Sat, 14 April 2012 21:31
Registered: April 2012
Location: New England
I was cradling my arm and glaring up at him when I said, "Don't you "hey, Walt" me!" Maybe it was the excitement, maybe it was the boobs, but my voice sounded higher, too. "What the fuck is going on?"|
He frowned, looked a little guilty, and said, "Lets get out of here and away from Uri and I can explain some of this, anyway." He reached a hand to me.
"That won't work, I'm... frictionless or something..." Still, it was impulse, someone reaches out their hand, you take it. He got ahold of me and pulled me to my feet like I weighed next to nothing.
I had to look up at him. We'd been the same height a couple of days ago, give or take, now he was nearly a foot taller than me. What the hell...
He held onto me by the upper arm, to steady me, I guess, and it made me uncomfortable. "I've got a van outside on Ring Road. We're gonna make for that and get off campus. After that we can talk. Can you manage?"
I nodded at him as the door opened and we immediately started walking. He was practically dragging me and it made me uncomfortable. We passed into the lobby and and I started having misgivings about this whole thing. He knew what had happened to me, or seemed to. If I was going to get answers, he was my best shot.
I mean, I'd only known the guy a couple of months, it wasn't like we were friends... Did I trust him?
I saw our reflections in the windows of the doors leading outside. There was Constant, and he was dragging some little kid with him. I mean, she couldn't have been more than twelve or thirteen. Was that me? She had my black hair, too long, and she looked a lot like my sister had at that age. I planted my feet. Or tried to, anyway. My new mass was pretty puny compared to Constant's and he just dragged me.
"C'mon, Walt, we don't have time for this."
"Stop, Constant! Stop!" I twisted my little pipestem arms and pulled free. I went frictionless again immediately and started to fall backwards. My shoulder screamed at as I waved my arms to try and balance. And then he got his hand on me again and it went away. I was normal again. Well a normal girl anyway.
"You're turning it off...," I said in amazement. Things in head started to connect up. "You did this to me! And that guy upstairs, you knew his name. You called him Uri!"
A heavily accented voice called from behind us. "If you are through dicking around with the little bitch, perhaps we can get moving?" I could see Uri behind us in our reflection.
"I'll drive," Uri continued, "she burned a hole through a door. You're going to have to hold her the whole way." I looked back and forth between them. Uri was a wall. He gave nothing away, but Constant might have looked a little sad.
He looked me in the eye for a moment and then looked up at Uri and said, "Fine."
They positioned themselves on either side of me and escorted me out of the building. Uri was careful not to touch me. As though he was afraid he might get cooties, or set on fire. Probably it was the fire thing. I don't think he was the kind of guy to be afraid of cooties.
The pavement was cold on my bare feet. I had to use one hand to hold my sweatpants up. I was kind of glad that I had worn a tee shirt to bed, since otherwise I'd have been shirtless. I was shivering almost immediately. I was cold, and my arm hurt. And I'd been turned into a girl by my roommate. And I had superpowers that pretty much sucked. There was a knot in my belly and it worked its way up to behind my eyes.
"Why are you doing this?" Will not cry. Must not cry.
"Shut her up," Uri growled.
Constant gave me a tug on my arm. I suddenly kind of realized the situation I was in. The weight of it. I was a young girl, with no identity that would do me any good, who was going to believe I was Walter Falconi? And I was a lot smaller than the two men who had taken custody of me. If they got me into the van, it would all be over. I'd be at their mercy.
I could see the van, just past the lot of parked cars. It was dark, the windows in the back were blacked out, so no one would see in. I didn't want to get any closer to it. Once I was there, it would all be over. I had to get away.
Constant was dragging me, and I stepped on a sharp rock or piece of glass in the lot. It hurt and I stumbled. He tried to drag me along, but his hand was sweaty and I slipped free.
The frictionless field came back immediately, but this time I was ready for it. In spite of the pain in my foot I took off like a shot. I fell immediately into a skating stride, even as Constant tried to get a second grip on me. Uri turned after me, pulling his gun and starting to draw a bead. I didn't stop to watch what they were doing after that. I hit the grass and kept going.
There was a pop from somewhere behind me and the no parking sign I was passing suddenly had a hole in it. I brushed the sign post with my fingertips and slightly changed directions to face towards the exit from campus. There were some houses out there, off campus and a mall not far away. If Uri fired another shot I didn't see it, and he didn't hit me. The gate was coming up fast, and I could hear tires squealing behind me. The van was fast approaching. A glance back and I could see that someone was leaning out the passenger window, but I couldn't tell which one of them it was.
The road off campus had one of those glass sided booths with just enough space for a tiny desk and a chair, and the control panel the ran the drop gate to block off the entry lanes. That gate was open and the booth had a surprised looking man watching the kid that was tearing through the grass and the van fast approaching along the road. There was a sign near the guard shack right along my path and I once again was able to alter my path by just touching the sign. I straightened out along the road and kicked forward again.
Behind me, tires were screeching and light from their headlights illuminated me. They were gaining on me. I chanced a look back and saw the van getting closer. They were going to run me down!
I wasn't going to beat them off campus. This was how I was going to die. Run over by crazy Russians that had somehow managed to turn me into a girl with superpowers that sucked. I mean the powers sucked. I didn't suck. I mean...
The impact was not what I expected. There was no bone crunching smash. I just accelerated. They were pushing me, and I had no choice but to go along. I looked up through the windshield and met Constant's eyes. He was looking grim, but determined. Uri was trying to figure out how to shoot me at the angle I was at without shooting the engine. I didn't want to see that, so I turned my back to them and watched as the end of the street approached. It ended in a "T" leading out to Old Westport Road.
I had to do something. Things were not going to end well for me if they just drove me into one of the upcoming houses. I had to do something or these guys we gonna kill me.
I tried to get out from in front of the van. I rolled to the side but got no traction against it and just sort of spun in place. And I lost my hold on my pants, which promptly fell around my ankles and tried to trip me up. I started to slip and started to fall as I hopped out of my pants. That was when the weirdness happened again. I felt something moving between me and the van.
I could feel the roughness of the grill on the van's front where I hadn't before. I wasn't sliding along the van, but I was still sliding along the street. I'd put the anti-friction field over the van! That was pretty cool, but didn't really help me. Also, the van was starting to slide. I got an idea of what do next.
I put my foot against the bumper and pushed.
The van went one way and I went the other. I could see it starting to spin as it slid until my frictionless field let go and it rolled. I shot down the road, pantsless.
|Re: Skid [message #56781 is a reply to message #56719 ]
||Sun, 15 April 2012 07:51
Registered: April 2012
Location: New England
I just didn't know what to do. My roommate was some kind of criminal. He'd done something to me that gave me powers, and made me a girl. A young girl. What was I supposed to do now? I was more than half naked and there was no one to verify my identity other than the two goons now in the hospital. I'd seen them get taken by the ambulance. The hospital was a couple of towns over. I had to find pants and get over there to make him fix this.|
It was dark, cold and I had nothing. No money. No identity. No fucking pants.
I was crouched down in somebody's backyard watching. The field of frictionlessness seemed to fade with the reduced adrenaline in my system. After the ambulance left I sat for few minutes until the cold really started to creep in on me. That is to say, about thirty seconds.
On the far side of the small neighborhood was a shopping center. There was a toystore and a mall, as well as a Walmart. None of them were open at 1a.m. But what I could find there was one of those large yellow donation bin that people drop used clothes off in for donation. I didn't much care for the idea of wearing someone else' castoffs, especially if I couldn't be sure how clean they were going to be. But I couldn't be too choosy.
I actually lucked out, sort of, the last person to dump a bag into the unit had managed to jam it in place, so I could drag it back out. The bag was mostly kids clothes, too, so I found a pair of pink sweatpants that had the word "pink" emblazoned on the butt in grey letters. My underwear wasn't comfortable, my briefs were too big by far for my now smaller self, so I ditched them. I didn't find anything to replace them with, and to be honest, probably wouldn't have wanted to anyway. Commando would have to do for now. There was a sweatshirt that bore a faded image of Mickey and Minnie Mouse. It was a little big on me but immediately put some distance between my skin and the cold night.
So what now? I didn't find any shoes, but my feet didn't seem to get cold when I was sliding around, so that might work out, if I could get it to work again. What did I do now?
I could call the MCO. They were just as likely to disappear me as they were to help if internet rumors were to be believed. The STAR league operated out of Providence, but I had no idea how to contact them. So I was gonna be on my own for now.
The remaining clothes went back in the white plastic bag and I got it properly into the bin just as a cop pulled into the lot. I ducked behind the bin and waited. The car prowled the lot. If I went to them, the police would probably help me, find me someplace to stay, put me in the system, I guess. If I did it, I could get warm, maybe something to eat, but it would put me further away from Constant and my cure. No, just me, then. A few moments later he pulled back out of the lot and drove off towards the mall, the opposite direction from where I wanted to go
I got the slippery thing going by taking a running start, actually, got my blood pumping, and I was away. Route 6 would take me right past Westport and into Fall River. This time of night, Saturday night, the streets might be busy. People coming and going at clubs and bars, kids my age, my real age, hanging out, cruising the streets looking for trouble. Long story short, I was gonna get noticed jetting along the road, but I didn't have much choice.
I found myself half wishing I'd found a bra in the donation bin. They'd felt huge when I first noticed them in bed, but my... breasts weren't all that big really. I don't know from bra sizes, but I just wasn't really looking old enough for a fully developed bustline. Just enough to well, not bounce really, but there was a lot of jiggling. And my old tee shirt felt rough against my nipples. By the time I got to the hospital they were both feeling pretty irritated. I was also pretty sure they'd grown just a little. My hips had altered at some point along the trip and my gait had altered. The process had been slow, and my movements had just changed gradually, adapting to the slightly wider set to my hips. Surreptitiously, I checked a couple of times along the trip and could still feel my dick. It was smaller, even smaller than it had been when I was twelve, but still there. All in all, by the time I arrived at the hospital, I was not in a good mood.
It occurred to me that the uncomfortable rubbing sensations meant that my slippery field was covering my clothes, too. Like when I'd touched the van. A part of me really wanted to experiment some more with these powers. I had essentially Judo'd a moving van. That was pretty cool. It would be cool if I could keep them when Constant changed me back, but I didn't get my hopes up. This kind of struck me as a package deal sort of thing. I'd played a lot of d&d over the years, and as a result had read a lot of fantasy. Power doesn't come without a price. I tried not to think much about the corollary to that axiom: curses are almost impossible to break.
I had to believe that Constant could undo this. He'd done it to me, right? If he did it, but couldn't undo it, I was stuck like this. Maybe for the rest of my life? Left as a... girl. I'd adapt to that. I guessed. I mean, how hard could it be? Half the world, actually I think I read somewhere it was more than half, bears up okay under the burden. I was barely a teenager now, if that. I had no identity. These were the big concerns. I mean, I didn't want to be a girl, but it didn't seem to be fatal. I absolutely did not want to go through high school over again. Especially not in the "system". I'd known a couple of kids in the foster care system when I was this age the first time. Life could be pretty uncertain for them. One girl got transferred out of her long term foster home when it became apparent that her foster dad and brother were both molesting her. The other one I knew was a young man who got "returned" because his foster dad wanted a sports fan and a football star, Kenny had been intellectual and absolutely not interested in sports.
The motions of sliding along had sort of settled into the sort of motion you use when rollerblading. Gently stepping forward while send your weight forward at the same time, then repeating. Of course I wasn't rollerblading. I didn't have skates on at all. I actually seemed to be floating not quite an inch off the ground. I could only turn by touching an obstacle. I'd gotten pretty good at angling myself for the longer runs, only falling a couple of times. It turned out that the slippery field was protecting my clothes, because one slip ran for about fifteen feet with me on my back and I wasn't even dusty.
Charlton Memorial Hospital was in the middle of Fall River, a modern looking building bordered by houses on one side and offices on the other. The emergency room doors were handled by motion sensor, so I slipped right on through, getting the slippery stuff turned off as I got into the place.
It was quiet inside, just one nurse at the desk and I avoided her pretty easily, slipping off to the side and into a hallway. One of the great things about hospitals is that everything is labeled. I just had to follow the right color line and it took me to the emergency room, which was where they would have first taken Constant and Uri.
There were two cops standing near the doors leading into the ER and I could hear them talking about some detective that was coming to investigate the "surviving perp." Surviving? I had made the van roll over. Had I killed one them? What did I do?
What if it had been Constant?
I pushed that selfish thought away. I had to get in and check. I had to see, and if he had survived, get him to change me back. Then I would turn myself in to the cops. It had been self defense, but a man had died.
I didn't have to wait long, it seemed, the cops went out for a smoke break and a nurse came out of the ER a moment later. I used the time the slowly closing door allowed to slip into the ER. There were several curtain covered bays and three actual small exam rooms. The people in the ER were busy with a drug addict that was being combative, so I could easily check a couple of the other curtains without interruption.
I found Constant in the third one. He was awake, the left side of his face was one big bruise and he had cuts that were bandaged on his forehead. He had a neck brace on, one of those soft wraps that was supposed to keep his head still. He was handcuffed to the bed.
"You're alive," he mumbled, seeming to have a little trouble talking, but I was pretty sure he sounded relieved.
"I don't know what this is all about, but you have to fix it. Turn me back. I can't live like this!" I kept my voice at a harsh whisper.
"I can't." He had a sort of resigned tone to his voice. "I would if I could, Walt, but I can't. My abilities don't work that way."
"I can wake up dormant BIT's. I inherited the ability from my grandmother."
I knew the pop-culture definition of a BIT or Body Image Template. Some, not all mutants carried inside them the blueprints to the "perfect" version of themselves. Their power seemed to center around molding their bodies to fit the BIT. That was great when the template was looking for Superman or Champion, but not so good when it was looking for the Hulk or Godzilla. BIT perfection doesn't mean perfect human, just perfect expression of powers associated with it. It also doesn't seem to be a conscious choice. You don't wake up one day and just decide "well, today, I'll just be Superman." It has some kind of ingrained, maybe genetic link.
Now I found myself wishing I'd signed up for that "Science of the Superhuman" course that was offered this year. It might have given me more information.
"So you can't just... put it back to sleep?"
He shook his head, gently, wincing at a pain in his neck.
"What the fuck is going on? What was the purpose of all this?"
[Updated on: Sun, 15 April 2012 12:26]
|Re: Skid [message #56787 is a reply to message #56719 ]
||Sun, 15 April 2012 09:00
Registered: April 2012
Location: New England
"My grandmother worked for Russian Intelligence when she was younger. She, I don't know how, discovered that she could... wake up, I guess, people with dormant powers. It didn't always work. Most people didn't respond to her ability at all, but she had enough successes that she wasn't considered a fluke. She worked for years with her handler, my grandfather, finding citizens of Soviet Russia that might have hidden powers that would help country.|
"To her knowledge, the Americans didn't have anybody like her. She, her abilities, lead to the development of several modern theories of superhuman physics and..."
"Get to the fucking point," I tried to growl. My new voice wasn't suited to growling. It sounded more petulant than growly.
"Grandma found out that she was making assassins, rather than heroes of the people. Disillusioned, she and grandfather defected to America."
"What does all that have to do with me being twelve years old?"
"I was approached by some people from the old country who had tracked down my grandmother. Her power seems to have faded, but they thought I might have some abilities. Mutants tend to have mutant children, y'know?" I looked back at the curtain behind me. It was all that was protecting me from being caught here. If he didn't get to the fucking point, I'd get caught.
"My ability was hard to bring out." He shuddered, as though it brought him no comfort to recall that. "But it was more refined than my grandmother's. Her successes were something like fifty percent. Every failure resulted in fatal burnout. My success rate is nearly a hundred percent, and no burnout. The difference is that my power rejuvenates subjects. Most safe power activations of mutants occur during puberty. I can take a subject past the optimal activation time and return it to a... ready state, I guess." He gestured with one hand, handcuff clinking. "So you're a kid again."
"You're talking about a fountain of youth..."
"It only works once. And it only works on subjects with a BIT."
"I guess my power latches onto-"
"No," I hissed, "Why? Why do it at all? Why make more mutants? What's the purpose of all this?"
"Oh, the men who got me up and running, they're... Russian Mob. They're moving out of Boston, looking to expand their drug operations into southern Massachusetts and Rhode Island. But they have to have some way to deal with the STAR League. They take the mutants I activate and are training them. Drug therapy, old KGB techniques. They..."
"Brainwashed mutant soldiers?" My voice went up a little, I had to hush myself by clapping both hands over my mouth. It was like something out of a comic book.
"Brainwashed mutant children soldiers. What superhero is gonna fight back at full strength against kids?"
"You were gonna do that to me?"
"No, man, I didn't want to, you were at the party when I activated my power. I felt it latch onto you when it got the others. You... I didn't even know it was gonna work on you."
"So it was okay to do it to everyone else, but not me?"
"No, man, I know you. I wouldn't... I didn't..."
"And you can't undo it."
"Once you manifest, I can suppress effects that extend outside your body, but not anything else. And only while I touch you."
"This has to stop, you can't keep doing this."
"You think I don't know that? These people, the mob, they don't let you just quit. Their retirement package consists of an ounce of lead. I can't quit, and I can't stop helping them. They'll kill me." He swallowed. "You have to get out of here. Either the cops are gonna take me in, or they are gonna come get me. I'm too valuable to them. It's too dangerous for you to be here."
The curtain slid open and there were three men standing in the ER holding guns. They were all dressed similarly enough to the way Uri had been that it felt like a uniform. They had that long lean build that runners get without sacrificing some bulk. They looked mean.
"Da," said the closest one, his hand still on the curtain. "Not safe place for little girls. We give you ride home, yes?"
|Re: Skid [message #56804 is a reply to message #56719 ]
||Sun, 15 April 2012 12:42
Registered: April 2012
Location: New England
I felt it when my heart rate rise, the field slipped over me and the world lost its grip. I didn't think now was the time to find out if I was bulletproof, so I started to raise my hands. There was a sudden blur of motion and a man in a hospital gown tackled the Uri clone right in front of me. I had no idea who he was but he was shouting, "Get out of here kid!"|
I didn't waste any time. I started towards the door and hoped that I could get enough steam up to slam it open or throw it like I had the van. The other two men seemed torn by what action they should take, help their buddy, or chase me. They wound up splitting the difference and only one came directly after me.
I got that "things are slowing down" sensation again as I made for the door and I could smell smoke again as something, maybe my slippery field, started to turn red. The man coming at me seemed to rethink the idea as his hand, moving at half speed or less was almost on me. His skin blistered, I could see the burns forming as he pulled back, his expression going from one of anger to pain.
Then I hit the door of ER. And I went through it, just like at my dorm. This time I was a little more aware of what was happening though. I seemed to be generating a lot of heat, not like I was on fire, but still super hot. I burned through the door like it was tissue paper and didn't even break my stride. I kept going, out through the window into the parking lot. The glass just splashed away from me as I passed through it, not shattering, but still getting through, unharmed.
There was a sign just outside the window and I touched it to change direction, which worked except that the sign melted in half. Behind me, I was leaving burning tracks on the pavement.
There was a black truck parked in the lot. Well, not parked so much as stopped. The man in the passenger seat of the van slapped the driver and pointed at me, they started driving, trying to intercept my path.
They missed me, just barely, and I hit the street, tapping a parked car to turn angle myself down it instead of across. Behind me the truck roared and a glance back showed that as it was leaving the lot, at least one of the guys from the ER had grabbed the wall of the bed and was rolling himself gracelessly into it.
I don't know what happened to the two cops. I didn't see them anywhere.
The red on my field faded and the world seemed to be settling down to normal speed again. Then I hit the hill.
I'd been so concerned about what was behind me I wasn't paying attention to what was in front of me. The road dropped off at about a forty five degree angle all the way down to the waterfront. There were a couple of level spaces where side streets intersected, but mostly it was downhill.
I needed to turn, get off the hill, but I could feel myself accelerating. There wasn't anything in my path to use, so I tried to create drag with my fingers. I leaned back as the first side street approached and brushed my fingers against the street.
Ahhh! It felt like I'd tried to grab a belt sander. My fingertips were bleeding immediately and I lost my balance, falling on my back accelerating. The truck was gaining on me, I had a feeling they might just run me over, or shoot me. Or both.
How did I get into this mess? All I wanted to do was coast through college. Maybe get a job and settle down. Now I'm a twelve year old, mutant girl being chased by the Russian Mob.
I blurred past the second side street, only one more and then the water front. Unless the truck hit me first. I briefly considered trying what I'd used on the van to move the truck, but I still wasn't sure how I'd done. And I wasn't still on my feet. The first part of the truck I was likely to hit would be the tire.
That was when I saw her.
She was wearing a fur trimmed black and white bustier and thigh high boots. Her elbow length gloves had short claws on them. She hid the upper part of her face behind a domino mask, but left her chestnut brown hair held back in a ponytail. She was leaping, timing her jump to match when I was going to pass the side street and crossed in front of the truck just before it caught up to me.
Her grip on me failed to catch hold, my slippery field turned her away just like it seemed to do to everything else. My grip on her, however, was tight. The fingers on my right hand burned where they'd been scraped open on the street, but I held on like my life depended on it. Which it did.
She pulled me out of path of the truck, and we rolled into a park on the opposite side of the road until our momentum slowed. She'd curled her body around mine, to protect me, I guessed. I just held on and screamed, part fear, part adulation.
I'd been saved. Saved by a superhero! I was pressed up tight to Tabby Cat's taut body, pulled into her curves as we lay there for a moment. It was pretty cool.
Then she ruined it. "Are you okay, sweetheart?"
Oh, yeah. Still a little girl. I decided that this was about the right time cry. It had been a rough day. And night. Maybe I couldn't be a college student being held by one of the top ten hottest super-women on Earth, but I could get some comfort out of the situation.
I hadn't really cried for a long time. Its just something I didn't tend to do. I don't know if it was tied up in some macho image thing, or just emotional repression (after all, I know a lot of girls that don't tend to express their emotions that way on a regular basis). I had a lot of stress to get out and if I couldn't have sexy woman comfort, I would take mom comfort instead.
She had kids, I could tell from the way she handled me. Stroking my hair and talking quietly. The words weren't important really, it was the tone. I think she answered a radio briefly, but I'm not sure. She said something about being okay, and needing an ambulance.
Somewhere not far away, I could hear crunching metal and gunfire, so I guess she'd brought the rest of the STAR League with her. Or they'd come together. Or something.
After... I don't know how long... the crying seemed to dry up and I was just getting those occasional twitch almost hiccups you get after a long hard cathartic weeping session. She had somehow managed to get me to show her my injured fingers and was cleaning them while she talked softly to me.
"Can you tell me your name?" Now that I was looking at her I could see she had these pronounced canine teeth, fangs, I guess. I found myself thinking it was odd because cat teeth are all sharp like that, sharp like little needles. She just had the two, well four.
"Yes, ma'am. My name is Walter Falconi, ma'am, Ms Tabby Cat?"
She peered in close at me, "Did you say your name was Walter?"
"yes, ma'am." My voice was small. I felt small. I mean, yesterday I was a foul mouthed as, well maybe not as a sailor, but certainly I talked like the other guys my age. Something about being small enough to fit in someone's lap again seemed to take some of the steam out of me.
"Listen Walter, its going to be alright. This, it happens sometimes. Where are you parents? Where do you live?"
"I live on campus. I go to college in Dartmouth."
"O-kay," she kind of dragged it out. She cocked her head to one side. "Why don't you tell me what happened from the beginning."
|Re: Skid [message #56852 is a reply to message #56719 ]
||Sun, 15 April 2012 23:43
Registered: April 2012
Location: New England
I had to repeat everything twice for the STAR League and then a third time when the MCO representative showed. They usually showed in groups larger than one but I guess there was something else going on and they could only spare the one officer. |
Mike Greeley was a stout man with a walrus mustache and a brusque manner. His suit was cut to make him seem bigger, with angled stripes of black over the blue of his jacket. He just assumed that when he showed up, he was going to take custody of me, which the STAR League in general, and my new bodyguard, Tabby Cat, in specific, were not going to allow. I was a material witness in a huge kidnapping ring that crossed state lines. Falcon had some contacts in the FBI or something, and was getting them to run interference.
Mister Greeley was forced to leave empty handed, but he seemed like he was one of those guys who would just try to find another direction of attack. He would be back. But for now, he was going away.
The FBI had picked up Constant at the hospital. I guess Uri didn't survive the van roll, which made me a little sick to my stomach. I mean, he was trying to kill me, or kidnap me, or whatever. Still, I'd never really killed anything before. It was upsetting on top of an already upsetting day.
I got to go back to Providence with the STAR League, though, and was allowed to give my statement to Agent Kirk Perriera of the FBI indoors, in clothes that were clean and fit. Tabby Cat had found me some jeans and a tee that fit, and some underwear, top and bottom. The bra wasn't much more than a band with shoulder straps, but it held my chest in place. It made me squirmy.
The offices, I was never really clear who owned the offices, the League or the FBI but it was just a collection of rooms and desks. It was like someone took a poll of exactly what the bare minimum to decorate an office might entail and moved just that, no more, into these rooms.
Agent Perriera was dressed in a relaxed manner, no suit jacket, sleeves rolled up, trying to make himself seem younger, more accessible. Which would have been fine if I was really as young as I seemed. Despite my story, he seemed ready to treat me like I appeared. I was up front about the fact that I was not some kid. I was willing to testify and wanted to make sure that they were all put away.
There were obviously others that Constant and Uri had taken, others that had been changed, like me. They didn't know where the others were being kept. The party was a couple of days ago, and if they changed like I did, they must have been picked up today. I got the impression that Constant wasn't talking. I was lucky, I guessed. Real lucky.
Agent Perriera took my statement carefully, asking a lot of questions, making me repeat it more than once, and then conferring with the League. I was starting to feel like the "adults" around me were making decisions for me. He wasn't even letting me participate in the conversation. It was frustrating and in the end I just walked away.
I couldn't go far, though, since the STAR League and the FBI were both keeping an eye on me. I wound up picking up an out of date magazine from the coffee table and slumping in the chair reading six month old gossip about celebrities I didn't really care about.
We were at the office for hours. The sun was well up by the time we left. I was tired. I felt cranky over my treatment and my predicament. I was exhausted, hungry, and ready to just fall down and sleep while at the same time eating my old body weight in food.
I don't remember where we went next, all I know is that I slept for hours and then woke up in a hotel suite. A big one. It had a kitchen and two more bedrooms. There was an FBI agent watching the door outside and the "living room" had a couple of couches and Tabby Cat, watching tv.
I was wearing some kind of nightshirt thing with a cartoon duck shouting "I think I'm quacking up!". It didn't amuse.
"Hey, you're awake," she said, standing. She was perfect. Every curve in place and every move poetry and grace. She was still wearing the uniform from the night before, but had added a bathrobe. She turned off the tv and tossed the remote down onto the couch. "You must be hungry."
I was running through a series of smart ass comments but that was all cut off by my stomach making growling noises. I had to laugh. "Yeah, I guess I am."
The kitchen had everything to make sandwiches in it. I kept eating until I'd gone through most of a loaf of bread. I was surprised when I realized just how much I'd eaten. She didn't seem upset, though. "I have a daughter just a little... well I was going to say older, I guess... bigger than you?"
I gave her a smile, and it felt good. Real. "Thanks," I said around a mouthful of peanut butter and jelly.
"Walt, we have to talk about what happens next." She was serious now. "Things are getting pretty serious here and we're going to have to find someplace safe to hide you until you have to testify. And it has to be someplace you can learn to cope with what's happened to you."
"Learn to cope with this?" I sort of gestured to the whole package. I took a gulp of milk. "I don't think that I'll ever learn to cope with this."
She put a gentle hand on mine. "I did."
"You did what?"
"I wasn't born female. A girl. I changed when my powers manifested." She met my eyes levelly. "And I'm not the only one, nor are you."
That was kind of freaky. I mean, really, how many times could this have happened? "But you... you said you have a daughter."
"I do. And a husband. I'm very happily married to a wonderful man. I don't want to sugar coat this for you, it won't be easy and it won't happen tomorrow, but it will get better. I promise." Her hand squeezed mine.
"I don't want to adjust. I want to go home."
"I can't promise to take you home, but I do know that your family was notified that there was an emergency. They're on the way to see you."
The food in my belly turned to lead. "Here? They're coming here?" I didn't want to have them see me like this. I'd just assumed this would all be fixed. Now it didn't look like I was ever going to get back to being me. I had to see them sooner or later, or hide forever. I wasn't sure whether I wanted the later or forever option.
I guess I must have gone pale or stiff or something. "Honey, you have to let them help. They're your family. I'm sure they want to help you." She stood up and pulled me to my feet. Let's get you cleaned up and dressed."
[Updated on: Sun, 15 April 2012 23:47]
|Re: Skid [message #56873 is a reply to message #56719 ]
||Mon, 16 April 2012 10:15
Registered: April 2012
Location: New England
In the end my whole family showed up. Dad, Mom and my little sister, Ruth. Well, she used to be my little sister. Now she was taller than me. |
I had taken after mom before, dark haired and dark eyes, but had dad's jawline. Now I was all mom's daughter. Dark hair, check, heart shaped face, I even had her dimples. So did Ruth. Now dad was the odd man out. He was tall and lean with dark hair that was going grey. He was in uniform, his blues looking a little rumpled. They were brought up by an FBI agent I'd seen but didn't know the name of. I was watching from around the edge of one of the bedroom doors and Tabby Cat (who was being really cool about staying with me, I mean, she must have other things to do, right?) talked to them.
"You have to understand that Walter was in an accident. Physically Walter is fine, but you're going to find... well, Walter is... different. It seems that someone at the college had the ability to awaken dormant superhuman traits and this person used their ability on Walter." She sighed. "You might not recognize Walter at first, but seeing you all now, there's no mistaking the family resemblance."
"Mrs Cat," my dad said, "I appreciate that you're trying to sugar coat this, but we've come a long expecting to find my son in the hospital, from the rush everyone put us through and instead we've come to a five star hotel. We'd like to see Walter now." He was standing at ease but there was a lot of stress in the posture.
"Yes, please, where is he?" mom pleaded.
Ruth had been listening, but also taking information in around her. I was pretty sure that she'd seen me, at least bits of me as I peeked at them all. So when I stepped out, she was the first one to acknowledge me and realize who I was. Mom and dad looked right past me, further into the suite of rooms. My sister's hand shot up to her mouth in surprise as she realized what, who, she was looking at. "Wally...?"
"Where?" Mom asked, excited and afraid of what might have happened to me.
"Oh, god, is that you, Wally?"
I couldn't speak, my throat was so tight with fear. I only nodded. And my sister was across the room so fast that I don't think I could have matched, even with my powers. I was wrapped up in her arms tightly. Just like that, I wasn't alone.
I'd been afraid to really confront what might happen if my family turned me aside. After all, I wasn't anybody's son anymore, anybody's brother. That was how I fit into my family dynamic. Eldest child. First born son. Big brother. If I didn't have that position anymore, who was I to them? What would my place be?
Here, now, in my sister's embrace, I felt like those questions would be figured out. I wasn't going to be abandoned, left to the system. Thrown away.
Ruth's actions made everyone else blink for a moment, but mom got it second later, with dad only a fraction behind. I found myself being crushed inside a group hug. I think I was crying again, but I know that Ruth and mom were. Even dad got a little misty eyed.
Ruth and I had always had a good relationship, that is, until she'd started dating. After that she was what my dad would call a "discipline case." Always sneaking out, slipping off base to meet her boyfriends. I was pretty sure that I didn't want to know whether she was having sex. But the one constant she'd had was that I would help her. She understood that I was never, ever going to approve of any boy she picked. They were always going to be short of the perfection I felt she deserved. And the few times her relationships went bad, rather than bringing dad into it, she'd come to me. She might have hated the protective older brother stuff most of the time, but she was smart enough to appreciate it when she needed it.
I remember holding her after her second break-up, with... some kid she'd started seeing in the Texas school system. She was only like twelve or thirteen at the time and we'd sat together for well over an hour, with me just holding her while she vented her frustrations.
Things were backward now, I was little and she was big. I hadn't seen her in over a year and a half and she'd changed. Filled in and added an indefinable quality that women tended to get in their late teens. Oh, she was pretty, but there was also this thing I'd noticed in most of the girls I'd known in high school and college. Like they'd been told a secret, one that, as a guy, I wouldn't even understand if they told me. She'd grown up. She was nearly eighteen.
They finally had to let me out, so I could breath. There was a barrage of questions that I had trouble fielding in any coherent order so I found myself trying to tell the story, again, from the beginning. By the time I was done, my mom was horrified at the night I'd gone through, my dad was angry. Ruth was... hard to read. I think she was a little excited but also feeling ashamed of something. Only our close relationship growing up helped me see the signs in her.
We'd moved to the living room of the suite. Ruth and mom were sitting on either side of me on the couch and dad had taken the closest chair to us.
"Nothing? You can't do anything to reverse this?" dad asked.
Tabby Cat looked a little uncomfortable. "Walter isn't the first person to have their powers change their gender and there have been some small successes in reversing some of those problems, but the catch is that Walt here has a BIT. The BIT contains a blueprint that has his abilities and body written in permanent ink. BIT's are hard to work around. Research is being done, since a lot of GSD sufferers have the same kind of problems. In fact, in some severe definitions of the term, that's exactly what happened to Walter. I don't think it's wise to go tinkering with... with her body until we've had a greater chance to study the phenomena that caused it, or the underlying BIT that re-wrote him into her."
I'd already gotten some of this, on my own, but I still deflated some when I heard it along with mom and dad.
"I'm not saying that you should give up hope completely, but I think that the chances are very slim."
"And besides," I cut in, "I have to admit, I'm not so upset about the girl thing. I mean, some of that really hasn't sunken in yet. I only just seemed to... finish... a little while ago, while I was sleeping. If I have to be girl, I'll survive. I'm mostly concerned with the fact that I lost about ten years here."
"You don't care that you're a girl?" Ruth asked. "Are you... gay?"
"What? No, I- I don't think that has any bearing. I just... it doesn't seem to upset me as much right now. I mean, lets face it," I straightened up a little showing off my small boobs, "I'm not really much of a girl anyway."
That made the two of us chuckle, at least.
"There's more to consider, here, though. Walter was a witness to and victim of, a crime. The FBI wants her to testify against her assailants. But until the trial starts we'll need to find a safe place for her to stay." Tabby Cat let that part sink in for a moment. She'd already talked to me about this and while I wasn't happy with it, it sounded like the best solution, for now.
"You sound like you have something in mind," my dad suggested.
"There's a school for gifted children, children with abilities that need to be trained. We could send her there, enroll her as a student for next semester. It will keep her hidden, and far safer than anyplace I can think of. And it's a good place for her to learn to control her abilities."
"And you want to hide Walter there?" my mom asked. "Wouldn't he-uh-she be safer with us?" Her arm snaked around me protectively. She hadn't held like that since I was little. I'd sort of outgrown it early on. Now I was basking in it."
"You can spend as much time with her as you like, but I can't stress enough that I think Whateley is a better choice all around than conventional witness protection."
"I'm on emergency leave, I can extend it a little longer and we can discuss it as a family and decide what the best choice is for everyone," dad said to us all.
"She's also going to need some formal testing, regardless. And she'll need to be registered as a mutant. There's a lot to do. We'll help however we can with whatever decision you all make."
[Updated on: Mon, 16 April 2012 10:16]
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