Another BigCloset TopShelf story.
Joanie kisses an admirer, gets a second dose of the menace that is karaoke and gets helpful advice from Red. Joanie gives her sister a shock and learns a posible key to harnessing her time stop power.
Andy Warhol said,"In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes." What if your 15 minutes came late in life, and fame decided to never let you go? Could you survive the circus your life would become?
Timeout-Stop/Playback/Rewind: A Whateley Academy Fan fiction
This is fan fiction for the Whateley Academy series. It may or may not match the timeline, characters, and continuity, but since it's fan fiction, who cares? To see the canon Whateley Stories, check out either Sapphire's Place,
(http://www.sapphireplace.com/stories/whateley.html) or the Big Closet (http://bigclosetr.us/topshelf/taxonomy/term/117)."
This is my first attempt at writing a TG/sci-fi piece. Gentle, constructive criticism and advice is welcome. This for the pure fun of it and in appreciation of the wonderful Whateley Universe. Take it in that spirit. Any violations of copyright or use of real people or incidents is for purposes of humor or parody, which gets me off the hook, yay! All rights reserved in perpetuity, John from Wauwatosa WI, 2005- 2006. See my new agents Bill & Ted of San Dimas CA, “Be excellent to each other and party on dude.”
p.s. They get better.
By John from Wauwatosa
Chapter 9-Road Trip, Conclusion and Breakthrough
Des Moines IA & Madison WI and points in-between, August 31st thru September 09, 2006
December 13, 2006 at station waiting for the Grand Miskatonic Shuttle
With help of two college boys and the station master, we muscled my Harley off the interurban and on the platform. The Grand Miskatonic Shuttle has a mixed light freight; baggage car with a small portable loading ramp, so getting my cycle on the train should prove easy. Correction: that should read Station Mistress -- she was much stronger than she looked. We girls took one end, the boys the other; she was nearly as strong as the two wiry college boys combined, I just helped to steady the load. I was tempted to ask if she was a mutant, but that’s her business. Now that I’m one, I notice mutants more often; at least I think I do. Not that we’re common, but there are more of us than I imagined. I gave them my thanks and sat on bench for the Shuttle, due to leave at 9am.
Des Moines, IA, September 10th, 2006
Through the governor, we arranged transport on one of several Iowa Air National Guard C130s due for Wisconsin’s Fort Mc Coy/Camp Douglas to pick up some reservists flown previously. Gin’s seminar wasn’t over yet, so she arraigned for Driftless Dan to drive up and meet us at the gate to the airfield.
~Oh joy, I get to ride in a pickup truck, for an hour or two. ~
Driftless Dan’s, “please do not call me DD”, truck was a Dodge Durango. Weird or what? Riding in his pickup truck for an hour or two was not my idea of fun, but we would avoid the press.
We said our goodbyes. Mel and I exchanged e-mail addresses, so we could keep in touch. I promised to call as soon as I was safe back in Madison.
She knew it was best I leave, but she hoped I’d return. “I know you can’t be my sister as much as I wish it, but you can still be my friend so call and come visit when you can, please. I’ll miss you so much, and I’ll just die if I don’t hear from you, so I’ll e-mail you every day so we can talk -- my brother has a crush on you; he said you’re really hot for a girl who used to be a guy but isn’t anymore -- he got your picture from the internet and printed it on photo paper -- I saw him put it in his wallet, and I heard him tell a friend of his he accidentally saw you in the shower, and you’re a real strawberry blond and you kissed him, and it felt so nice and ... “
“Your brother saw me in the shower?”
“Uh huh Joanie.”
“Eric is going to get an earful from me, he is so grounded,” Babs said. I had an idea; it was perfect.
“Babs, he’s your son, so do as you think best, but I may have a better idea. Do you have a camera, preferably digital?” I whispered the rest. She agreed and asked Mel to escort Carrie to our limo and wait there.
“We won’t be long, just lady stuff,” said Babs.
I winked at Carrie, and she smiled back. I quickly changed into the same leather crop top and miniskirt combo I’d worn the day of Mel’s rescue but improved on it with those knee-high Steve Zink high heeled boots. I took my long hair out of Mel’s ponytail clip and tarted up my makeup a few notches. I took a page out of Gin’s book, opening most of the buttons on the crop top, so I displayed a lot of cleavage. When Babs saw me, she could hardly keep from laughing.
“Joanie, that is just wicked. Eric won’t know what hit him. Do me a favor and don’t wear that getup near Bob or my Dad. I don’t want to be a widow or orphan at my age. Ghod, I think I’m attracted to you now.”
“Good, that’s the look we need. Ready?”
Eric was shooting hoops with a friend. This was just what I wanted; he was dribbling with his back to me.
“Eric, honey, aren’t you going to say goodbye, dear?” I cooed.
He turned; the ball stopped bouncing and rolled away. I walked slowly to Eric, slinking like a cat.
“Oh and you brought reinforcements. How sweet, but you know you’re man enough for me.”
Eric stood there stiff as a statue, ALL of him. I noticed his predicament.
“I see you want me too, and so soon after all we did last night, tiger.”
I pressed my thigh into his groin, put one hand on an ass cheek, grabbed his hair with the other and bent him into me.
“Take me now, lover,” I growled.
I kissed him full and hard on the lips with just a bit of tongue. A camera flashed, Eric started to push away.
“What are you two doing? Get out of my house, you tramp!” Babs was quite an actress. “And you, young man are in such trouble, when your dad and I get through with you ... “
“But I didn’t do anything Mom, I’ve never even been with a ...“
Babs and I put our arms around each other and broke out laughing. As we walked to the limo, I turned my head back to Eric.
“Hey Eric, when you turn eighteen if you’re still interested, call me.”
“Ghod, you’re such a tease, and you’ve only been like this for two months?” asked Babs.
“What can I say? I’m a natural.”
I was so happy with myself, it was a while before I realized my nipples were stiff and I had this tingly feeling in my...
~Ghod, I’m getting off on Eric. I’ll need to talk to Sara about this too. ~
* * * *
Driftless Dan dropped us at a side entrance to the Hospital where Alex was waiting, as we’d phoned ahead and learned the press was camped by the main entrances. I went back to my routine of class work, tests, powers instruction and advanced girl stuff. Things seemed back to normal for week or so.
Little did I know, it was about to get flung again and higher too. Several things happened to change my quiet existence. I received a CD in the mail from Iowa. The Karaoke machine was a professional model that recorded your performance. Senator Joe arranged for every party guest to get a copy of the Karaoke and a few photos of the birthday party he had taken himself. All our performances were on it including all of mine. Trouble was the kids got to bragging about the fun they’d had, how Mel had this kewl super-heroine guest at her party, how pretty she was and how well she could sing. Copies of the CD ended up in the hands of several radio stations, two of which were parts of nationwide radio empires and one of the kids posted my songs and photos to the Internet.
Busy as I was, I ignored TV and radio so it came as surprise when I got a call forwarded to my answer machine from the Karaoke guy asking me to please call him back ASAP. I’d given the Johnson’s Dr. Sara’s line as an emergency contact and she forwarded it to me as this way it was untraceable. I ignored it and went to the biweekly meeting of MSG at the Chinese Buffet. Oriental Express’s food was excellent as usual and for some odd reason, the topic for the night was how to keep your real identity secret. We discussed mistakes we’d made and ways to reduce risk.
“That’s why it’s so important to have a super name and even a separate code name. It’s critical to not let the public know your real name if you want or expect any privacy. Only a few of the top supers can get away with being fully out in the open.” Glacier Girl said. Apparently personal security was an area of expertise. “So remember rule number one, unless there is no other choice, always give out your super name and never your real name, Joanie.”
“Twist the knife deeper, why don’t you, GG? It was an accident. So what do I do now?” I asked.
“Pray and try to keep your lovely face out of the papers for a while.” said the Cranberry Kid. “Don’t feel bad, I f***ed up almost as bad myself when I mutated. You’ll not make the same mistake twice.”
“Yah, I’ll make a new and improved mistake,” I said sardonically.
“You’ll be okay, Joanie. GG is working on protecting your ID from unauthorized scrutiny and researching a new legal identity for you as a backup. Once you’re no longer flavor-of-the-day, you’ll be fine,” said Big Red.
Gin spoke next. “You need cheering up in a safe place. Most of us missed your, um concert, so lets go to the UW Memorial Union it’s ... Karaoke night.” Gin and several others said in unison.
“I suppose there’s safety in numbers,” I said unenthusiastically. My thoughts were less positive.
~Though I walk in the valley of death … ~
We drove to the Memorial Union - it’s a very big campus - and got carded. They didn’t want to let me in.
“Hey, no high school girls, we’re serving alcohol,” the bouncer barked.
They confirmed my ID, we got some decent tables not too far from the stage, got some pitchers of beer, margaritas and soda and sat back waiting for the fun to begin. I stuck to cola. The first hour went fine; various students got up, made fools of their selves or not then sat down. A number recognized some of us as local supers but left us alone. The second hour, they started to run out of volunteers, so some of us went up on stage. A sadder bunch of Madonna wannabes, there never was. Gin wasn’t half bad as an Asian Christina Aguilera. Red and Glacier Girl did a great job on “These Boots are made for Walking”.
We forgot about the menace of picture cell phones. Some idiots snapped pictures of MSG and yours truly and sent them off to a local TV news station hot-line, others called their friends. Forgetting myself, I suggested we do a group song, ‘Going to the End of the Line’, by the ‘Traveling Wilbury’s’, George Harrison’s all-star pickup band. Gin would sing verses one and four – Harrison -, Red the second - Jeff Lynn? -, my self the third verse – Orbison - and the rest the bridges - Dylan, Petty? - Then we’d all sing at the end. Prior to our song, a reporter and camera man snuck in with compact, low light, HD model we failed to notice. As we sang, the crowd grew rapidly. Why so many late comers, I wondered, had some large evening lecture let out? We sang, had a great time, and the crowd seemed to like it. Some one called out,
“Joanie, can you sing one by yourself?” I thought it was one of MSG.
“Okay, got any ideas?” I requested.
Various songs were shouted out, one gave me an idea.
“I’ve got it,” I said.
I told the karaoke operator what I wanted, and she cued it up. I was wearing the same outfit I teased poor Eric with, and it came to me, Black Leather by Grandmaster Flash, a rap song written for Joan Jett who’s known for her sexy, tough, working-class image ... perfect. I simply changed “my name is Joan Jett” to “my name is Joanie,” not bad in a pinch. I sang my heart out; giving it everything I had and vamping up a storm. I was wild on stage, Gin told me as I came off.
“Ghod you were hot, girl. I hope you didn’t do that at the birthday party.”
“Nah, purely G rated stuff. I’m not stupid enough to do that in front of preteens -- I have some level of control,” I said smugly.
The crowd wanted more, but it was late and I wanted to sleep. We walked out the doors straight into a mob of reporters and TV lights.
“Joanie, Joanie, is it true Warner and Sony have offered you recording contracts?”
“Are you going on tour?”
“Do you have a boyfriend?”
“Is it true you used to be a man?”
Things went all funny again, then black. I came to slung over Red’s shoulder, the rest of MSG running interference between us and the press.
“I’m okay, Red, put me down. I can run real fast, don’t worry.”
She set me down, and we took off cross campus. Five minutes later, we were many blocks away and out of sight. Red was slightly winded; I was fine other that being somewhat nervous. I hardly broke a sweat.
“For someone who’s not a speedster or a brick, you’re a damn fast runner. You know, we ran over a mile and one-eighth in five minutes. That’s only a little over a four minute mile pace and blows away any women’s marks, yet you’re barely even sweating. I’m supposed to be the brick here, not you,” Red said between breaths. She knew of my enhanced endurance, but it was one thing to see it in the lab, another to experience it in the real world. We’d never had a chance to test it this way.
“Sorry, Red, but these boots slowed me,” I grinned.
“Remind me never to challenge you to any distance events. Now power lifting…”
“So where do we go?” I asked.
“My place is nearby; I’ll hide you there.” Red phoned the rest of MSG, told them were I was and turned on the TV. “Want to check out the damage?” she said cheerfully.
“No news, please, how about something light and fluffy, Entertainment Tonight?” I suggested.
“You’re on, Joanie. Set your cute butt next to mine and get comfy.” I stared at her.
“Just a cuddle to help you relax; okay Joanie?”
It was relaxing, actually. The ad break ended, and the show came back on.
“On the music scene, singing sensation Joanie was seen tonight performing for friends and students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Memorial Union.” They showed a clip of me from my cover of Black Leather.
“There goes any chance of you singing in a church choir, Joanie. That makes Madonna look Republican,” Red quipped.
“Varity reports that at least three major companies are actively trying to sign Ms. Brown, a recently discovered mutant, with Warner rumored to be in the lead. Interest in the tall, redheaded super has been at fever pitch, since her dramatic rescue of the daughter of presidential contender Governor Johnson of Iowa. Speculation was furthered by her appearance at the girl’s birthday party and Joanie’s apparent close relationship to the Johnson family and their daughter’s grandfather, Senator Williams. Little is known of Ms. Brown’s origins other than she only recently became a super. Rumors persist that she is the illegitimate daughter of Senator Williams, his mistress, or that prior to her transformation she was a middle-aged man from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.”
“My father -- if they find out where he lives! If he gets hurt, I’ll never forgive myself.”
“It’s probably not that bad. The press thinks they know your last name, but they don’t know your old first name. Plus you have a very common last name, thank Ghod,” Red said trying to reassure me.
It’s just that I haven’t told him everything that happened to me.”
“What did you tell him, Joanie?”
“I e-mailed him a couple times and said I was getting better and in rehab, but I wasn’t allowed visitors. I told my sister most but not all what happened.”
“Not all?” Red asked.
“I told her I’m a lot younger looking and a mutant ...”
“But not ... “ she prompted.
“A teenaged mutant female sex bomb.”
“Hero with a half bra, girly power,” Red sang.
“Ha ha, so droll Sensei, I’m not an animated turtle. I feel such a fool,” I admitted.
“You got some ‘splaning to do, Lucy,“ said Red in a surprisingly good Ricky Ricardo.
“First cartoons, now old TV, I give up. “
“Hush Joanie, the show’s back on.”
“In a follow-up to our lead story, the unauthorized release of a recording of Joanie’s birthday party performance is causing headaches in the legal departments of the studios involved. No written or verbal permission was obtained from Ms. Brown to release or even record her voice or image. Legal experts say the fallout could be in the millions of dollars. “
Turn it off, Red. Can I use your...”
“Phone, sure,” she answered before I could finish.
“Now cut that out!”
“Jack Benny couldn’t have said better himself, Joanie.” It got my mind off my troubles for a while.
~Thanks Red. ~
* * * *
It was late, but my sister was still awake. “Hello,” she said sleepily.
“Sis, it’s your evil brother; it’s not too late to call?”
“I’m awake now. Is that really you, John? You sound so strange, still not fully recovered?” she sounded very concerned.
We had lost most of our aunts and uncles in recent years as we were the children of the youngest of their families.
“Remember, I e-mailed you and said it would be a while before I’d be back to normal?”
“You’re not dying, John?”
“No, far from it -- it’s just I held back a lot because I didn’t want to scare you.”
“Ghod, the mutation’s disfigured you. You’re missing limbs or grew a tail? Oh my poor brother,” she said with alarm.
“No no, I’m fine, better than I used to be in fact,” I said.
“Please tell me the truth; I’m all worried now.”
“You keep up with the news, don’t you, Sis?”
“I read a lot, sure. Making a dumb blond joke?” she asked.
“Read about the mutant who saved a girls life in Prairie Du Chein on Labor Day?”
“You know Joanie, the mystery girl? Who is she, what’s she like?”
“You’ve already met her,” I said and paused.
“I’ve met her ... Oh No!”
“Yours truly, what can I can I say other than, can I borrow that nice pleated purple linen skirt of yours for Saturday?” I missed teasing my sister.
“Dad’s gonna freak. When are you coming home? You have to see me,” she said in rapid-fire.
“Probably not for a few months; the press is too curious now. The conflicting rumors help but eventually someone will connect the dots. This isn’t fair, but could you break it to Dad? I’ll owe you big time, Sis, and I am a super.”
“Well okay, but you better bring me up to speed soon. Can you meet me somewhere?”
“I don’t know. Is the sci-fi club still meeting twice a month on the second and fourth Saturday’s?” I asked.
“Yea sure, you’re not thinking of coming?” She sounded shocked.
“Why not, can you think of a group of people less likely to draw a crowd?”
“We are kind of geeky,” she agreed.
“I’ll just say, I heard of your club from your internet site and decided to check it out. I may bring a few friends, don’t worry you’ll recognize them. You can always explain us as a group of sci-fi nerds trying out costumes for a convention. Still the same locations and times?”
“No change there, little sister,” she snickered.
“That’s a low blow, Blondie. Tell yah one thing.”
“What‘s that, my former older brother, now younger sister?”
“You’d better be on your best behavior, or I’ll steal your man,” I said.
* * * *
I returned the call from the now frantic Warner Records exec. I said I was interested in recording but had several nonnegotiable conditions. First: a satisfactory security arraignment, as I feared for my safety and that of friends and loved ones. Second, this was a one time deal, though I would give them first right of refusal if I decided to record again. Third, I wanted 30% of the gross before all expenses. As I ‘d already provided them with free publicity, all expenses related to promo, production, distribution, and such would come out of their 70%, half of my 30% would go to mutant research at UW-Madison. Lastly, any promo touring, photo-ops, concerts or TV and radio appearances were strictly at my discretion. If I wasn’t 100% satisfied, I walked.
He hemmed and hawed but agreed. “If I were you, I wouldn’t settle for less. I understand your fears and despite the restrictions, we’ll still make a tidy profit. The charitable angle is a great one, good for the university, and it could boost your sales.”
“One minor change, of my personal half of the 30%, send one-third, that 5% of the gross to the American Cancer Society under my name in my mother’s honor. I can’t give her name as my dad is still alive,” I requested.
“I’ll have a contract ready tomorrow. Got a fax number?”
I gave him the number to the mutant wing fax.
“Okay if my lawyer reviews it before I sign?” I asked.
“I was going to recommend you do that. Who’s your lawyer?”
“Senator Williams,” I replied.
“Tell me, he’s not your father is he?”
“No, and I’m not his mistress -- he’s just a good friend. Now, no more questions, okay?”
“Talk to you later, Joanie, and thanks. You won’t regret this.”
“Ghod, I hope not. I’ll be in touch,” I said and hung up.
It’s over three months later, and I still call him Mr. Karaoke. Silly ain’t I?
* * * *
MSG, Sara and a still confused Alex found the silver lining to my Labor Day disaster -- the video and still images gave them something to analyze.
“We think we found the key to your powers or the “trigger” if you will and have an experiment to test this when you’re willing,” said Sara.
“Well lead on, Mc Duff,” I replied.
“I don’t know why it didn’t happen before; perhaps you were still in shock from your mutation. You have Badger Boy and Dairy Maid to thank for it,” Sara said.
“What is it? You’ve got me all wound up, and it’s very frustrating.”
“Precisely, Joanie,” said Alex. “Emotion or more correctly, the release of adrenalin due to strong emotions is the key, we believe. From your own admissions, the sight of the little girl... “
I interrupted. “She has a name, Doctor Alex.”
I was pissed, did I care for Mel that much?
~Damn I think I’m going into mother mode. I’m thinking like a mother? Where’s Rod Serling? ~
“Melissa Johnson or Mel as she prefers, Alex,” I said testily.
“Sorry. When you saw Mel running into the road, the fear you felt jumpstarted your fight or flight reflex. In your case it’s so strong; it triggered one of your powers,” Alex explained.
“Come again?” Oh goody, pseudo-science, gobblety-gook time. “Plain English please; you’re giving me a headache,” I complained.
“Okay. Somehow, you tapped into those other parallel dimensions you’re linked to, Ghod knows how, and generated a time dampening field, for want of a better term,” Alex continued.
They had told me a few days before, they believed my time and regen powers were tied into the string theory concept of multiple coexisting universes. At the moment of my mutation, I got cross linked to them somehow and that might be the source of my inexplicable abilities. With any luck, they’d soon have more for me but needed to run the evidence by Dr Otto at ARC and a couple mutant physicists first.
“The closer to you, the stronger the damping field -- at its peak, everything within thirty meters of you stopped or was so slowed we can’t see movement, even comparing from frame to frame in the video. Beyond this, objects move faster and faster until at fifty meters, motion appears normal. When you collapsed on the welcome center grass, it all snapped back in a fraction of a second,” he said.
“So I stopped motion; that sounds like a force field or energy damping,” I hypothesized. Hey, I can spout pseudo-science with the best.
“That’s been ruled out; we observed relativistic effects in the evidence,” Alex said.
“Relativistic as in relativity: i.e. Einstein?” I asked.
“Yes Joanie, all the classic stuff was recorded; gravitational lensing, Doppler light shifts, compression and expansion of objects as seen by an outside observer, and time dilation,” explained Alex.
“Time dilation?” whoa Momma! We’ve hit the big-time. Out with Rod Serling and in with “The Outer Limits,” I exclaimed.
“A State Patrol squad got caught in your time stop. The onboard computer was reported as malfunctioning at the precisely same time as the rescue. Its internal clock was out of sync with atomic time by nearly twenty seconds,” Alex said.
“Huh?” Real intelligent on my part, don’t yah think?
“The police computers keep very precise time for evidentiary reasons, calibrating radar, time stamping on-board video and for data encryption, very hush-hush. Badger Boy found out through his police contacts and offered our help investigating. Dairy Maid found the computer had lost twenty seconds relative to its equivalents, yet no error messages or any excessive processor usage were recorded in its internal logs. The computer tested out perfectly, under every scenario she could conceive of. The only explanation remaining was time travel.”
“Why didn’t it snap back like everything else did?” I questioned.
“It did, but it took just long enough for the clock discrepancy to be reported over the police data network. The squad computers report to the network every few seconds, the link itself is always on. When you began the rescue, it started drifting off channel, Doppler shift, we think. The circuits compensated but eventually lost the link for ten seconds. It came back on but out of sync, only returning to normal shortly after you collapsed,“ said Alex.
“Why twenty seconds?” I asked.
“Given how fast you ran in testing and the other night with Red, the distance covered, stopping to pick up Mel and then returning to safety, the whole rescue took you personally from thirty-five to forty seconds,” Sara replied, taking over for Alex.
“But the whole rescue takes maybe fifteen to twenty on the video they keep showing.” I said
“Seventeen point five seconds, according to the video recorder clocks.” Gin said. “Like Alex said, time travel is the only way to explain it. For part of the thirty-five to forty seconds, you were essentially in your own universe where time moved at your command, your Majesty.”
“How else should I refer to someone who controls a fundamental aspect of space-time? Such powers are those of the gods or at least kings and queens of myth,“ Gin said in a overly formal voice.
“But I’m me, I’m ordinary, well a mutant but?”
~Set stand by for panic mode. ~
“I’m being melodramatic, but that’s how some might see your powers.”
* * * *
To be continued
Special thanks to my evil blonde sister for proofing assistance.
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