TG Universes & Series:
Alex Thurol- Today I would have answers. Certain questions had bedeviled me during my entire holiday break. When you try and kill someone, and it fails, you naturally want to know why.
Part 2 of 3
This is a fan fiction story in Lilith Langtree's Retcon Universe. I don't own or have the rights to any of these characters. This story was written simply for fun. With that said, this is still my story. No reposting it, without my say so! Thanks to the amazingly fast Djkauf for proofing and a second pair of eyes!
Today I would have answers. Certain questions had bedeviled me during my entire holiday break. When you try and kill someone, and it fails, you naturally want to know why.
Don’t get me wrong. I hold nothing against Larry Danvers. For a little white guy, he was okay even if he was anal retentive. The problem was he was in my way. MIT was still rated the top technical school in the world. There was room for only one top student at that institution, me.
Truthfully, he wasn’t more intelligent than I. It was more an apples and oranges type of comparison. We both had our own strengths. My own intelligence surpassed his. I know because I hacked the administration files and have seen both of our records and test scores.
It also wasn’t that he was more intuitive although that was a factor. No, it was because he thought outside of the box, and had an attention to detail that would make any engineer proud.
Who in the world would ever think of colonizing Jupiter? It’s a gas giant! However that is exactly what Larry did. Not only was it imaginative, but potentially extremely lucrative as well. Each new advancement in human development was heralded by new materials and elements that needed only time before scientists and engineers could devise way of utilizing them. Jupiter could be the new mines of Solomon.
I had to keep from drooling at the very idea of large amounts of Metallic Hydrogen being easily available. Room temperature superconductors by the ton? How about the possibility of a highly energy packed fuel with only water as the byproduct? Metallic Hydrogen is 9 times more compact than normal H.
Sure some might say that all of this was pure speculation, but developing the means to reach it was well within my lifetime. One needed only to be bold.
My own finals project was Enceladus, the sixth largest moon of Saturn. I, of course, did well and got my expected A. However, I readily admit that it wasn’t nearly as visionary as Larry’s Jovians.
That did make it necessary to humble my rival, but that was easy. All I had to do was point out the comic-book like similarities between his colonists and the fictional Kryptonians from DC comics. The rest of the class picked up on it at once. Poor pop culture ignorant Larry didn’t even have a clue.
I swear, I wonder if that boy didn’t have Asperger's sometimes. He’s so socially inept it hurts. It was almost pathetic the way he keeps coming on to Alana, and she’s a lesbian. A lipstick one to be sure, but the signs are there if you bothered to look.
I don’t think he would take it well to know she saw him as more of a little brother than a romantic interest. Of course if my speculation was correct Alana could very well have the hots for Larry or perhaps I should say Linda now?
Or maybe not.
I kept my face carefully cheerful watching Larry lug his baggage across the airport lobby. That did not keep me from wondering if he didn’t change into that walking DC Comics copyright violation, then who did? Not to mention how he survived his little trip outside the plane at 30,000 feet. A journey I knew for a fact happened given the last telemetry I received from his laptop was right before it shattered impacting into a frozen Ohio farm field.
Perhaps Ms. Copyright Violation had saved him, but why didn’t Larry come forward then? Everyone else who’d walked away from their involuntary free fall experience couldn’t wait to let everyone know and collect a few bucks to get interviewed on national media.
Whoever she was, that had been who’d ultimately foiled my attempt at knocking off my competition. Besides that there another annoying mystery that a quick look at my sensors disguised as a watch informed me. He was clean.
Considering I’d infected him with so many nanites that he should’ve clanged when he walked, that was impossible. I’d actually been concerned the airport sensors would’ve gone off. Of course they wouldn’t have understood what they'd found and would have likely just chalked it up to a malfunction. A much more sophisticated device than anything Homeland Security had available to it would’ve been needed to identify my little helpers. Only a few labs in world had that capability.
That didn’t include a particular visitor dressed in green. All indicators suggested Jade would’ve found them immediately, which was the whole reason for this complicated charade in the first place. Not wanting to come to her attention after she started spending time with Larry and the Professor, I had to hide my involvement. Just having my little friends turn him into goo just may not have been good enough to escape the notice the resources Jade had at her command. Having the evidence crushed and mangled after falling from 30 thousand feet in the middle of a blizzard would’ve confused and hidden everything very nicely.
“Hey Larry! What’s up? Have a good Christmas?” I asked, him running over the possibilities in my mind.
“Oh hi, Alex.” He replied, startled to see me. “You’re back early, too?”
“Sure,” I lied with a smile. “My parents drive me crazy. My father still thinks I should be on a football scholarship instead of an academic.”
While my old man might’ve been thrilled to have me playing ball, he knew better than to cross Mother. He knew where his bread was buttered. Alright, he hadn’t done badly for himself, investing his exorbitant salary from his pro-ball years, but that was a pittance beside Mother’s payoff from my maternal grandparents. Understand that even the huge commercial farm corporation she ran as CEO was just pocket change to the Family. That meant my Uncle, since my grandparents kicked the bucket. You would think he would be more progressive then they, but he’d made it quite clear that as far as he was concerned she was still an embarrassment.
Well, until last year when he needed something from her. Something that had changed everything.
“What about you?” I asked. “What brings you back so early? I thought after having your break cut short helping Professor Swan you would’ve cut it a lot closer. Having problems with your parents too?”
“They aren’t like that. It would’ve been nice to spend more time at home, but I got talked into something else. My cousin Carol is moving to the area, and both of our families thought it best we stay together to watch over each other in the big bad city.” Larry rolled his eyes.
I fought to keep from losing it. The skinny geek being able to protect just himself was laughable. Him being able to help anyone else was beyond ridiculous. Certainly, I was familiar with his martial arts training since I had hacked his records after all, but he was simply so damn easygoing I could no more think of him as being a threat then I could a gnat.
“So you two are off apartment finding?” I asked, forcing my face to remain friendly. “Where is she? I would like to meet this cousin of yours.”
“Yes and no,” Larry answered. “Yeah, I’m looking for a place for us, but she is going to be flying in later.”
There was this strange sparkle in his eyes when he said that as if it was part of some kind of joke. However, it was so apt. This cousin of his was already walking all over him. I think I like her, and I haven’t even met her yet.
However, I couldn’t pump him for too much information. Even Larry would become suspicious of the circumstances. It was time for me to depart. Sadly, I had to resist the urge to re-infect him. It was a real possibility this cousin of his just might be Miss Copyright Violation. If so she might have access to Jade’s resources and could detect my little friends. That wouldn’t do at all.
“Good luck with that this time of the year,” I said. “However I’ve got to go. We can catch up on times after school starts.”
He picked his bags up after giving me a farewell wave.
Watching his reflection in the glass windows, dragging his bags towards the exit, I did indeed have a lot to do. It was time to find out just who this cousin of his was.
I watched Alex until my enhanced senses lost him in the busy traffic of Logan International Airport. Dragging my bags outside, I grabbed a cab to my new apartment.
No matter how I looked at it, he was my number one suspect. Part of my stomach twisted up at the very idea. I knew he had that mean streak, but would he really try to murder not only me, but an entire plane load of people too?
However, his just happening to show here at Logan when I arrived was a little too much of a coincidence. It made me glad that I had wasted Dad’s money to fly the old fashioned way despite how much I loved going sub-orbital. Beside all the baggage I had with me this trip was the kind of stuff that didn’t travel all that well being hand carried at mach 5.
I’d thought long and hard about the consequences of telling Dad and Mom the truth. Certainly I got an unexpected preview of the possible consequences during the Family Christmas get-together.
These things were just so much fun, not! Wearing thick soled sneakers with a bit of heel, I made up my inch of lost height. Trust me, when you feel short anyways, losing any at all seems like a lot.
Of course with all the aunts, uncles, cousins, and family friends these events are bad enough. However, good did come from it. My preview took the form of my Cousin Chloe. No, she’s not meta, but once upon a time she was Cousin Nick. Being either brave or excessively masochistic, she came out to the family-at-large right in the middle of the gathering.
Most of us Cousins took it well, but fewer of the older adults did. I decided to step up when Cousin Tom, who wasn’t known for his lightning quick wit, showed how he got that reputation.
Calmly, I told him his opinion was noted, but of no consequence and would he please take himself elsewhere. The goon received a shock when others rallied behind me. Maybe his father had put him up to this, but enough of us far more numerous younger generation demonstrated our support for her.
Besides I’d always liked Nick. He was one of the more intelligent of my extended family. His inquisitive nature led him into journalism while mine took me into science. Oops, I have to watch that! ‘It’s she you dummy’ I silently reprimanded myself. That’s really ironic since I’m one now, too. This isn’t going to be easy is it?
Well, that’s why I wanted to pick her brains. My internet search of spontaneous sex changes had pulled up a lot of sites called by names like Fictionmania, Big Closet, and a slew of web comics. Hey that’s where I found out about the Squish, Squish Game. Okay maybe I shouldn’t go there, TMI.
Well anyways a lot of that stuff was eye opening, but not very useful if you know what I’m talking about. I needed practical information. Chloe actually looked pretty good. I could see where she had a long way to go yet, but there was a kind of peace about her now, that Nick never had. That’s with all the stupid homophobes that we were unfortunately related to, giving her and anyone near the evil eye.
For just a moment I thought she was going bolt from the party, but after me and the others gathered around, she relaxed. At first it was all small talk, but then she rather shocked me.
“You know I’ve wondered if you might be Tee too,” Chloe said, low just for my ears.
“Huh?” I asked, confused.
She smiled in a way Nick never did. “You know, LBGT; Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, and Tee for transgender.”
“Why would you say that?” I gaped at her, nearly dropping the punch I’d gotten for us.
“Well there is the obvious, both of us being outsiders and the whole socially inept thing. And there’s the secret we shared at the last of these family things that we were both still virgins. But mostly, I think it was the lack of testosterone fueled aggression other males seem to have in such abundance.
“Remember, you told me about all that martial arts stuff your family is into. I know you could’ve kicked Tom’s butt all over the room, but instead you calmly made him back down and walk away.” She finished, making her point.
Then Chloe leaned in close. “I’ve also seen how you’re walking. There’s this little wiggle. You do a great job of hiding it, but I know what to look for.”
Her sharp eyes gleamed. Chloe knew she had me. I thought about putting her off and denying the whole thing. However, I really did need her help.
“Okay, I do have a secret, but it’s something I need to show you rather than tell. You think we can find somewhere private in this madhouse?” I asked, indicating all our relatives half smashed on eggnog and punch.
“Sure, I’m a reporter. I know all the places where I’m not supposed to be,” she said, smiling, but I could see her excitement as well. I just had to tantalize her with a secret.
Weaving our way though the party, she took me to the roof. As cold as it was, no one was out and about.
“So what’s this secret of yours, Larry?” She asked, hugging her jacket tight to her.
“First you have to promise not to tell a soul. It’s very important no one else knows this, but I do need your advice.” I replied, emphasizing the seriousness of this.
Thus Chloe Sullivan became the first person other than Jade to know my secret. Well, part of it anyways. Oh, the look on her face as I stepped off the roof, hovering in mid-air.
“Oh my Gawd! You’re a Meta!” She exclaimed. “So why tell me at all?” she asked, not slow on the uptake.
“Because,” I sighed, “If you must know, I was the Meta that saved that plane in Cincinnati.” I dropped Jade’s disguise.
Poor Chloe’s mouth dropped open. Gathering her wits she asked, “This is the real you, now?”
“Yes, it is,” I nodded. “But no one can know that. One, what happened to that plane wasn’t an accident. It was deliberate, and might very well have been targeted at me. Why, Jade and I don’t know, but until we do, this has to stay between us.” I said, landing back beside her.
“Do you see now why I need your help? I’ll have to stay undercover at least for now until I can find out who attacked that plane. They killed two stewardesses and a passenger, as well as endangering everyone else.” I told her sighing at the senselessness of it all.
“I can’t tell you the odds I beat manifesting in the middle of it, and that’s not counting me also saving those six people who got sucked out of the plane with me.” My heart turned hard. “I want whoever did this and so does Jade. They have access to some serious technology, and who knows what they will try next.” I said, clenching my fists in frustration.
“At the same time, I’m like this now, and I can tell you that I don’t think there’s a way back. Somehow, I have to deal with this, but still stay Larry at least part of the time to find this terrorist.
“I have this junior version of Jade’s ring that gives me a disguise, and I was planning to have a female identity to help me get used to this. However, I don’t even know where to start! Hell, I don’t even know how to tell my parents about this!” I finished, with despair heavy within my chest.
“First of all girlfriend, you’re gorgeous,” She said, jealously “I wish I looked as good as you. Second, I know too damn well how being in the wrong skin can eat you up. There’s always conventional surgery. Maybe that Green Lantern you keep mentioning has some kind of high tech medical machines that can put everything right, because for females to males, I admit the Earthly medical options aren’t that great.
“However, you do need to talk your folks. Of all the oldsters, they accepted me the best. I can’t tell how it will go. I’ve heard stories of very tolerant parents up to the point it’s their little boy who wants to wear the dresses.” Chloe said, shrugging.
“It’s very weird trying to get used to theses changes,” I said, sighing. “Chloe, I’d lost an inch of height, but have nearly tripled my weight which is all muscle. I checked the internet. My new measurements are the same as Marilyn Monroe’s, which is really creepy, since Supergirl was modeled on her at one point.
“Jade’s Junior-Scout Green Lantern Ring has helped immeasurably with just the clothes issue alone. The very thought of going out and buying stuff like a bra gives me brain freeze. I’m not quite freaking out, but I don’t think I’m handling this very well. I am having problems even conceiving my circumstances have really, really changed,” I said, presenting my new body to her like Vanna White.
“To address your points, I’d spent more time than I want to admit in front of the mirror. I’m a 35-22-35 D-cup blond bombshell. The problem is that she’s me, Chloe.
“As for transitioning back to male using any method at all, is completely impossible. I don’t know how much you know about comic books, but imagine how tough it would be for a Kryptonian to attempt that. It’s even harder for me.
“This body seems to be based on a design I did for a cyborg meant to thrive on Jupiter. Imagine a human shaped spaceship, a Jovian, which has all of the organs necessary for a human in individual environmental life support units. Even with Jade’s medical technology there’s no way back. Like it or not, this is me, now.” I explained.
Her eyes grew wide as they took in the implications. “So you really are like Supergirl just as that little girl claimed?”
“Pretty much.” I replied, sighing. “Maybe not as strong, fast, or as near invulnerable, but I’m close. I’m expecting to get sued by DC comics any day now.” I said, feeling more than a little sorry for myself.
“Let me get this right,” she said, standing hipshot and staring hard at me. “Someone tries to kill you, but as you’re plummeting from 30,000 feet, in a one in an Oh My Gawd number of zeros chance, you change into a near invulnerable gorgeous woman who is right out of the comic books. You can fly all the way to the moon all on your lonesome. And please make sure I understand this,” she finished, glaring at me “You’re complaining!?!”
“What about not being dead?” Chloe reminded me. “And don’t you dare tell me, Ms. Science geek who had her pilot’s license at 14, that you don’t like being able to fly!”
“It was only a pilot’s certificate for gliders.” I blushed sheepishly correcting her, “I couldn’t get my license till last year when I turned 18, but haven’t had the time yet. Still,” I said, holding up my hands in surrender. “I get your point.”
“It’s just this all so overwhelming. I never even dreamed I could be having some of the problems I’m having now.” I tried to explain.
“You don’t have to tell, me.” She said hugging me. “Trust me, I know how hard it is dealing with gender screw-ups. Just figuring out there is a problem is a real, and I do mean a real gold plated bitch. Admitting you actually like what you’re feeling isn’t easy either. In the end, I decided I would rather be happy, then try living in a way which most definitely wasn’t working.”
“I don’t know.” I objected. “How much of that applies to me. Sure I’m feeling all messed up now, but it was pretty obvious how I got this way. I must also say that I do like some of this, although it’s mostly having these powers. Having a choice, I guess it’s better looking beautiful than being ugly, even if I would be much rather be dating a girl who looked like this than, staring at her in the mirror.”
“Hah, so you do admit that it’s not all bad, and don’t think I missed that ‘mostly’ qualifier either,” Chloe replied triumphantly. “You have found something you like about joining the other team even though I bet you’ve spent the entire time hiding behind that secret decoder ring of yours ‘disguise,’” She accused me, making ditto marks in the air.
I sighed wondering how to put this. “I haven’t been hiding. Since the aerial incident Mom has stuck to me like glue.” Hey pilot types never ever say crash. It’s bad karma! “I think she realized just how close I came to not walking away.”
Chloe remarked, “Not as close as it really was, I bet, but don’t change the subject.”
“Okay,” I shrugged. “On the rare occasions that I’ve had time alone to try and work this out, I can honestly say how I look isn’t exactly freaking me out. My trouble seems to be more me wondering what the hell do I do now, if you know what I mean.”
This was all so confusing maybe because I wasn’t freaking out. Terra and I had a few ring to ring conversations that helped. Just the warning about ring created shoes not having any real traction literally saved my neck although because of my density I always kept a little anti-grav on. We talked about just how strange it all was, and she gave me a head’s up on some other surprises I could expect.
I’d found a few of those walking around in my ‘Larry’ disguise. Sneaking into the airport and meeting back up with my parents after getting back from Jade’s star cruiser, I quickly discovered I, hmmm…, stuck out further in the front and back than I used to. While I couldn’t do much about the back, I had to do something about the front.
The Junior-Scout GL ring also helped with that, but damn was it uncomfortable. With as dense as I was, it’s like wearing bondage gear, but again I’d no choice. Mom insisted on frequent hugs to reassure herself I was still alive.
Even still, I saw her fleeting confusion. Her son Larry shouldn’t have 'bumps’ there. Thankfully, she was too happy at my survival to really process the information. That is so far.
Chloe gave me a sideways smile that really worried me. “So, what you’re really saying is you’re trying to cope with this but you don’t have a native guide to help you in the strange new land in which you’ve suddenly found yourself marooned.”
“First of all, girlfriend,” She said, “Let me say this again, you’ve got to tell at least your Mom. You need a woman’s help who’s grown up that way. She’s the one person you can trust not to give away your secret, and teach you what you need to know.”
She waggled a finger in front of me. “And trust me, sister, do you have a lot to learn if you’re going back to school in just a few weeks. I know you don’t have the slightest idea of how much you have to learn” Chloe broke out into a grin, “As for the rest, I can do what she can’t.”
“Like what?” I asked. It was tough keeping myself from grimacing knowing I wasn’t going to like the answer.
“Why take you on your first shopping trip of course!” She exclaimed. “Your Mom knows all the in and outs of how a girl is supposed to behave, but not so much about how college girls dress in the new millennium. I love your Mom, but she is sooo last century!”
What followed is one of the weirdest and strangest events of my life and that’s including my unexpected metamorphosis at Angels Thirty. We met back up the next morning, and I got a crash course in shopping, girl style.
I hated, but enjoyed it at the same time. For one this was the first time I spent much time without my ‘Larry’ disguise in public, and it felt so good to ‘unbind’ my chest.
Chloe took us straight into Victoria Secrets. What an oxymoron! With clothes like these nothing was a secret! Trust me, they weren’t hiding anything. After learning more about styles of bras and panties than I ever wanted to know, I think we hit every store in the Mall.
It felt a bit like being a voyeur, dressing up this absolute knockout of a woman, but since she was also me, I hated all the putting and taking off of the truckloads of stuff Chloe kept passing to me to try on. Plus, I don’t even want to think about all the stares I got from all the guys. Having been one only a few days before, I knew exactly why they were looking. Twice I headed to the restrooms fighting nausea from the very thought. At least being sick reassured me that men did absolutely nothing for me. Thank Gawd for small favors. Never mind that Terra said that could change over time.
The bad was I missed out on lunch while busy retching. I think it was that, the combination of hunger and brain overload that let me goof so badly. Of course, I figured out too late that my cousin set me up, but I must say it wasn’t an auspicious beginning for keeping my secrets, much less doing the Clark Kent thing.
The second I walked in carrying those shopping bags, I knew I was busted. There was Mom.
I could tell it would be a complete waste of time trying to explain why her son Larry was toting a double armload of shopping bags full of women’s things.
“Is there something you would like to tell me?” She asked, with one quirked eyebrow.
Chloe cut me a look. I knew what she wanted me to do. Besides, I’d never lied to my parents about any of this. I simply hadn’t volunteered the truth.
Sighing, I asked, “When is Dad due home? It would be easier to tell you both at once.”
Reluctantly Mom nodded her assent. She saw the logic of my request even though she really wanted to know right this very minute.
That’s when Chloe rescued me from the so very awkward moment.
“Aunt Lora, we’re going upstairs to put all this away.” She said, grabbing my arm.
Safely out of sight I turned to her, “Thanks.”
“You’re welcome,” Chloe said, but then surprised me with another hug. Apparently women were a lot more …tactile than guys. Not that it wasn’t nice, but it would take some getting used to. “I know how hard it is coming out of the closet. I’m not going anywhere.”
Setting the all the bags on my bed, she began pulling stuff out.
Staring at the remains of all of my Christmas money as well as a big chunk of my savings, I had to ask. “Okay why do I need all of this stuff when this can just make it for me?” I flashed my junior GL ring.
Chloe hopped up next to our shopping facing me.
“There’re a couple of reasons,” she replied counting them off on her fingers. “One, shopping is a social and bonding activity for women and one you need to become familiar with.
“Two,” she continued. “Even women who aren’t girly girls know all about bras, panties, and other things like that, if for no other reason, because they know the things they do and don’t like. You’re totally clueless about it all. I like really feminine things, but I’m still learning too.
“Three,” Chloe held up another finger. “You have a big challenge in front of you, and I’m hoping to find things that you’ll like about all of this that’ll make it a little easier.
She patted the bed urging me to sit next to her.
Sighing, I complied not sure I wanted to hear this.
“From what you’ve told me, you’re well and truly stuck like this.” Chloe took m hand. “Your choices are to try and adapt or appear to everyone like a really butch woman. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but you know the way people are. Going that route cuts you off from certain choices or at the very least makes them harder because of people's prejudices.
“You’re like me in a lot of way, but you’re also the exact opposite.” She sighed. “You don’t know anymore about how to pass as a woman then I did when I started. Oh, I had some ideas, but they were almost all wrong."
I saw the spark as she got an idea.
“Have you ever heard that saying about Great Britain and the United States; Two nations separated by a common language?” She asked.
Nodding, I replied, “Yeah. Although we both speak English, our cultures are different enough that it’s hard to really understand each other. Just watching BBC America can tell you that.”
“Exactly!” She laughed. “That’s how men and women are. We speak the same language, but each really does have their own culture.”
The she turned serious. “Forget all those TV shows and movies that seems to think the only things a man needs to pass as a woman is a dress, makeup and talking in a falsetto.
“Did you see a few women looking at you curiously at the mall? Although no one in million years would think that hard body of yours is anything, but female, you were still giving off the wrong signals.” Chloe explained.
“Like what for instance?” I didn’t think I’d been that bad. Yeah, I did see some curious expressions especially from the older shop keepers, but I didn’t think anything of it.
“Like everything!” Chloe exclaimed. “The way you talked. Your word choices and inflection were all guy. I’m not even going to go into how you walk or the way you flopped into that chair at the food court.
“That bad?” I asked dreading the answer.
“That bad,” she confirmed and looked at me as if searching for something.
“I bet,” she began. “That you had some idea of doing the Superman thing. Here is mild mannered student Larry Danvers, but after a quick change in the phone booth here is Supergirl!”
I winced again. Thank you but I’d about all the Supergirl stuff that I could handle given Alex, Alana, and a certain five year old girl that’d told the whole world that Supergirl had saved the day.
However, Chloe was right. That had been my thought. Larry was a guy, and Supergirl was, well, a girl. The perfect disguise right?
I didn’t need to say anything, she just shook her head.
“Cousin, I love you to death, but boy are you dense sometimes. Have you ever been in a locker room and seen how guys zero in on anyone different? Having been the victim I can tell how. Without the clothes giving gender clues it’s all about body language. That’s how I outed you. That ring can make you look like the old Larry, but it can’t make you move that way.” Chloe glared at me.
“Your little charade might last for a while, but it would only be a matter of time before someone worked it out. MIT doesn’t exactly have a reputation for graduating idiots. And that’s another thing. Once your Supergirl pops up, you’re going to have the entire campus rubbing their hands together in glee at the challenge of figuring out who you are. If you’re going to make this work, you’re going to have to be way more sneakier, cousin of mine.
“Then you have the government,” Chloe rolled her eyes.
I choked, “The Government?”
“Already there are noises on Capitol Hill about regulating and controlling Metas. Talk is that there will be an agency to register and control any emerging Meta. Supposedly, it would be to help and support new Meta's, but I don't trust any bureaucracy as far as I could throw it. I wouldn’t be surprised if they weren’t already looking for you.” She folded her arms after making her point.
Oh boy, that wasn’t good. Mom and Dad might be the biggest liberals in town, but our family had a strong Jewish background even if we never practiced. We remembered all too well the lessons imparted by Nazi Germany. That registration thing just was not going to go over well.
Then it hit me, Meta-gene. If I had it then other members of my family might too. This could bring a lot of attention not just to me, but our entire family. Heck, our entire town, given how everyone here was related to each other. Who knows, maybe the Meta-gene doesn’t work that way given how rare its expression is, but no way was I going to be part of directing official attention at people I cared about. I firmly believed the government works best when it’s bothering someone else.
With a long sigh, I asked, “Okay you’ve made your point. Do you have any suggestions?
Chloe’s evil smile really made me regret asking.
“Do you have pen and paper?” She asked with unholy glee. “One of the things your plan was missing was you need to make time to come to terms with the girl thing.”
She held up a hand seeing my objection. “Yeah, I understand you want to complete your degree as Larry as well as having to lay low to catch that high tech terrorist of yours. However, you have to think of your mental health too, and making time to do that is also important.
“I’m not too sure about you trying to be the super spy, but you do have that Green Lantern watching your back as well as being near invulnerable.” She shrugged. “That’s between you and your parents.
“What I would suggest is take as much of the attention off of your Larry identity as you can. I think you can do both at the same time by setting up a civilian identity as a woman. That way you get to practice at being a woman as well as if you do have do your Supergirl thing everyone will think it’s her and not you. Even better if you make her so in-the-face and outrageous no one will even dare think of anyone, but her as that crazy blond flying around.”
“And how would I go about doing that?” I asked half-appalled at the thought. I barely had any free time at all during the school term. MIT wasn’t known for slacker course work either.
“It’s easy,” Chloe giggled really getting into it. “All you need is to come up with a false ID card like everyone does for getting into bars. Maybe add a fake school ID too. Even better find a nearby college with someone with the same name you’re posing as and fake their ID. We could even build you a legend like out of the spy thrillers. Come up with an entire background for you.”
“I don’t know, Chloe,” I told her shaking my head. “That sounds really complicated, and I spend most of my time studying anyways.”
“That’s why it’ll be perfect!” She exclaimed, excitedly. “If we get you an apartment in the area you could say you’re roommates. Hey, we could make her,” she made ditto marks with her hands, “Your cousin. That would explain why the two of you have the same accents and talk the same. With both of your ID’s in school, you can always say the other is off studying. It’s a great excuse!”
“An apartment!” My poor mind was boggled. “And who is going to pay for it? It’s only because of the scholarship that I’m at MIT at all. Do you have any idea what the cost of living expenses are like at Cambridge?”
“You’re going to need a place by yourself anyways. Maybe that ring can make you look male, but you’re still female. Unless your Jovians don't ovulate, you’re going to start having periods. No way are you going to be able to hide that in a dorm full of guys.” She folded her arms.
I must’ve made quite the face judging from her laughter. Periods? I hadn’t even thought about that. While I might be able to carry out my disguise in public, private was something else. While I could adjust my actual weight, that’s only when conscious. Sleeping, I made a 360 pound depression in the mattress, and while they might be designed for more, all that weight was in the compact form that resembled Marilyn Monroe. Mom had already almost discovered me once like that. Additionally, every bed for me it was like sleeping on a ridiculous soft marshmallow that kinda swallowed me up. So yes, she did have a point.
Unfortunately, so did I. Finances was a big issue.
“I don’t suppose you can squeeze coal into diamonds?” She asked hopefully.
The bad science of the mere thought hurt, but I kept my mouth shut shaking my head, no.
Mom and Dad made pretty good money at the Agri-corp lab where they worked, but the Boston area was very expensive compared to Kansas!
Maybe there was some other way of using my new abilities to help out with things. I had to say however, it wasn’t appealing. It was like it was cheating somehow. On the other hand, this was at least a little like being a real spy. If I wanted to catch that murder, I would have to do things I didn’t like.
“Larry!” My Mom called. “Your father is home.”
Near invulnerable or not my face paled.
Chloe gave me the look.
“Come on. It’s not that bad.” She encouraged. “Besides I’ll be right there with you.”
“Really,” I asked.
“Really, Silly,” Chloe replied hopelessly trying to pull me up.
Taking a deep breath, I reduced my weight so she could.
“Okay,” I replied feeling worse then when my dog and I had trampled Mrs. Kravitz’s flowers way back in the fourth grade. At least then it had really been my fault, not like now.
All the way down the stairs, Chloe was right behind me, as if I was going to make a break for it. I wasn’t, but this was one of the hardest things I’d ever done. Not making it easy on me, Mom and Dad were simply sitting there waiting for me.
“Mom, Dad, I have something to tell you.” I said, feeling my mouth go dry. It was nice to know I was still human enough for that. Come on, I can do this.
Dad just raised an eyebrow during my retelling, but Mom made him sit next to her. Afterwards, she had a hold on me and just wasn’t going to let go. He however always was practical.
“I understand Larry, that you’re still using this Jade’s disguise. Can you show us what you really look like now?”
While I fumbled for an answer, Chloe interrupted.
“Uncle Joel, if I may. Having gone though something like this myself I would suggest you let Larry change out of sight this first time. I think his just changing right in front you would be a shock. This whole changing gender thing can really mess with your perceptions. Better to take this slow.” She explained, taking my hand.
I knew she was being a little pushy, but she had after all had some experience in all of this, sorta kinda. Mom really didn’t want to let go, but I smiled at her.
“It’s okay, Mom.” I reassured her. “I go around the corner and drop the magic ring thing.”
Reluctantly, looking over at Dad she let go.
The moment we were out of sight, it hit me. What in the world was I going to wear? The whole oh-my-Gawd girly-thing thought had me almost in hysterics.
Chloe, seeing my distress, calmed me.
“Easy Larry,” she whispered. “Just go ahead and change. We’ll work out the rest.”
Walking back out to meet my parents, I was dressed the same as before as Larry, but, thanks to Jade’s ring, it all had a feminine cut. In other words, everything fit. Okay, I did take the bondage gear off the ‘girls’ if you know what I mean. Having them restrained wasn’t comfortable at all!
“Here I am,” I announced uncertainly.
Dad just kinda stared dumbfounded, but Mom got up and walked to me. Then she hugged me.
“So that’s what I’ve been feeling,” she said looking down at my protrusions.
Blushing so red that Chloe, beside me, laughed, I nodded.
Carefully, I hugged her back. The acceptance made my worries disappear.
“Joel, come over here and meet our daughter,” Mom asked Dad, but I could hear the steel in her voice.
It scared me some the way Dad just looked at me, but then he smiled. I guess he was looking for some sign of me in this blond bombshell I was now.
“She has your eyes, Lora.” He said holding out his arms.
As Larry it’d been forever since I’d hugged my Dad. Somehow as a guy, I’d grown beyond that. All right, I admitted there was something good about this girl thing. I might be stronger than he was, but just letting myself be loved was nice.
The rest of the conversation however, wasn’t. They weren’t happy at all about me being the stalking horse for terrorists. That wasn’t all either.
Mom and Dad did get into it. If she had her way, I would be at home and not at MIT. He pointed out that I was an adult and that I’d worked hard for my achievements. However, he wasn’t any more pleased about me planning to spread myself really thin trying to keep up with my school work, and deal with my new life far from home and support network. Mom countered that was why I needed to be home so she could help me.
Somehow, I convinced them this was something I had to do. After all we had no idea of why I was apparently targeted. Whoever it was might decide to come after me no mater where I was. Additionally, as fast as I could fly, home as well as Chloe was only an hour or less away. That also brought up the fact that I had other Metas on ring-speed-dial. Not only in case of Mr. Terrorist trouble, but in case I needed girl help too.
So not happily, but they did agree with me. Of course they insisted on helping me refine my plans, which wasn’t totally a bad thing. I did need the help. It was them that suggested I run my plans by Jade.
Honestly, I don’t know how she has even time enough to sleep. If it’s not one emergency after another, she's off trying to help us Metas. “Oops, landslide in Chile, gotta run, and after that Thor-girl has got to go shopping. Have you seen her wardrobe?”
However, despite that Chloe had an idea of how Jade and I could help each other.
After my dear cousin’s thoughts about me squeezing coal into diamonds flopped, she got to thinking about things I could do that no one else could. She came up with Space Junk. I had to admit that she had something there. LEO is lousy with debris, but most of it is so small I couldn’t do anything about it. We’re talking about paint chips, dust from solid rocket boosters and tiny other bits and pieces less than one centimeter. Don’t think that because it’s small that it’s not dangerous. At orbital velocities that stuff is like bullets or the mother of all sandblasters. On the other hand, the bigger stuff I could do something about and at least some it of was valuable.
Chloe’s thought was I could clean up some of that junk, and let Jade broker the valuable pieces for me. Her ring would let her be nearly the perfect middle man keeping my identity safe.
Hearing the idea, Jade did it one better setting it up on an automatic Ebay account. I simply asked my ring to enter the new item, and let them handle the rest. Where to store the stuff until the bidding was done, was an issue. However, if there was one thing Kansas had plenty of, it was cornfields and barns.
As for delivery, I did it myself using an all black body suit patterned on that ski-suit I’d borrowed that stewardess. Yes, I did return it, but I kinda liked the all black thing, and when I added a mirrored full face shield, I felt easier now that my identity was safe. Hey, plus when I really moved, even on camera’s I wasn’t anything more than a blur.
My first job was recovering some tools and other odds and ends the friendly people at the International Space Station had managed to accidentally lose. I still had misgivings using my talents for profit, but like Chloe said, “A girl has to eat.” Flying was still a blast and fortunately most of the stuff was being tracked. The one piece I had trouble finding, Jade finally gave in and pointed it out to me.
Then it was simply a matter of warning the ISS I was coming so they didn’t freak out. Tethering the stuff onto one of their ELC, External Logistics Carriers, so they could use their robotic arm to bring it inside, my job was done.
The total value of all that was a couple hundred grand and that wasn’t counting the cost of lifting it to orbit. I’m not saying how much, but the recovery was enough to take care of my expenses for the next semester.
It should’ve gone even further, but this double life of mine was beginning to look expensive. Two sets of everything, one for Larry, and one for her. Clothes, bedroom stuff, and everything needed to make it look like two people were living in that apartment really added up.
Then I have to have yet a third for the super-me. The clothes made by Jade’s magic ring were nice, but it really didn’t seem like I was wearing anything at all. Thank you very much, but I needed something that felt like I had clothes on. Chloe had some ideas about that, but I had my doubts about letting a reporter pick out my wardrobe. Flashy really wasn’t my thing!
With all of that, my holiday was over before it’d felt like it’d begun. Chloe did help me do a little apartment looking in Cambridge although she swore she was never flying with me again. My gravity field thing is no where near as good a ride as Jade’s green bubble thing. Think sedan as compared to a motorcycle. I don’t think my cousin stopped screaming the whole all the way there. On the way back, I took it a lot easier; something for which she thanked me later.
I guess not everyone likes kicking it vertical at mach 5 to sub-orbital and then a straight drop right back down to mother Earth. Hey, my grav field protected both of us and had a trapped pocket of air for her.
All Chloe did was mutter something about that romantic scene in ’Superman; The Movie’ not being all it was cracked up to be.
However, it was time to stay on the ground. I hailed a cab to take me to my new home for the next few months. It’d taken Chloe and me a lot of looking to find the right place. My new digs were on the top floor of an old brick warehouse converted into apartments years ago. A major selling point was the windows opened wide enough for me to fly in and out, which wasn’t minor detail in this age of energy efficiency. Not only was there not a view, it opened out onto a dark alley, which assured me that there would be few witnesses of me coming and going though sky-port Danvers.
Okay, it wasn’t the Fortress of Solitude, but it would do. I had a ton of work and the term hadn't even started yet. Unpacking for two, as well as getting ready for classes. This was going to be a very busy year.
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