TG Universes & Series:
Alex Thorul- Imagine my surprise when I first met Larry’s cousin. She was so like Supergirl, all she needed was the costume.
This a fanfic of Lilith Langtree's Retcon Universe. All the Characters within belongs to someone else such as DC or Marvel comics. With that in mind this story still belongs to me and I reserve all rights to repost.
It is not for profit, simply for fun. Insert standard disclaimer! A big thanks goes to djkauf for looking this over for mistakes.
Part 3 of 3
A Retcon fanfic
And his ADHD afflicted muse
Imagine my surprise when I first met Larry’s cousin. She was so like Supergirl, all she needed was the costume. Long blond hair, eyes so blue they were like sapphires, and last, but not least, a body built for sin.
“Hi, I’m Carol, Larry’s cousin.” She said with that same mid-western twang.
“I’m Alex and this is Alana.” This had to be the one who screwed up my plan, but I never expected her to be anything like this. There was this innocent nervousness that was utterly captivating, but at the same time she was dressed to show off that previously mentioned hot body of hers.
I never had a problem with attracting the attention of the opposite sex. All I had to do was pick and choose which one I wanted to sample. While other boys got the Birds and the Bees talk from their Fathers, I got the Connoisseurs’ version from mine. As an ex-pro ball player, he’d had to fight off groupies, and fans trying to get into his pants.
Since I took after my Dad in looks, he taught me how to use that to my advantage. Sure maybe women have that reputation of using their appearance to get ahead, but he showed me how men do it too. Tall, muscular men are imposing and make an impression on everyone. That’s why I followed his example and went with the shaved head. It made me stand out even more and that gave me an advantage.
It was the kind of advantage he used on the playing field, in college, in the bedroom and finally in the boardroom. It’d landed him Mom as his wife as well as a top position in one of the top 500 companies in the world.
The wise son took notice.
“Oh, he said something about some friends coming by to study.” She said grabbing her purse. “He’ll be out in a second, but I have to run. It was nice meeting you however, I have my own study group to get to. Catch you later.”
I watched her as she waved bye and headed for the door. As much as I wanted a piece of that, I couldn’t help but notice the competition. Alana was nearly drooling watching Larry’s cousin’s derriá¨re sway in those tight jeans. Yes, she was wearing heels, and not the universal cross trainers of most coeds. Yes, competition, because when this Carol had waved bye, she did it looking the lipstick lesbian in the eyes. And no, I wasn’t the one wearing lipstick.
After the door shut, I tested the waters.
“So that’s Larry’s cousin,” I remarked. “Not what I was expecting.” Wasn’t that an understatement. I’d searched the internet for information about her, after leaving Larry at Logan International. What I’d found was a whole lot of nothing. That was close to impossible in this age of social networking. For a young college girl not to have an account where she could work out her texting addiction bordered on the completely impossible.
There were several Carol’s in the Boston area including one going to school here in Cambridge. However, she wasn’t from Kansas, and Larry’s cousin spoke with the same twang he did.
“Uh uh.” Alana replied dazed, failing to hide her interest.
Was it possible that Larry and this girl could be the same person? There were some reports that Terra had some way of disguising herself, but there wasn’t any proof. Certainly, if Jade was involved she could provide some type of device considering the level of technology available to her.
“Hiya, guys!” Larry greeted coming out of his room. “Carol leave already?”
Okay, maybe not. She would have to go upstairs to the roof. Fly down to the outside window without being seen. And then change clothes as well back into Larry. All in the scant few seconds while Alana and I had been standing here. I think not.
Alana nodded trying to pull herself together.
However, I had to keep from laughing. How would the poor smuck react to his cousin having a better shot at Alana than he did?
“Hey, you two want anything to drink before we start?” He asked. The typically clueless Larry.
I found myself looking at the door. Who are you, Carol Danvers?
Not this again, I moaned to myself as I heard the screams.
Alana and I had just left Alex from our study group at MIT's Hayden library. She was in good spirits, but while we got a lot done, I was conflicted. The reason we left together was because we had a date, sort of, kind of. By that I meant she had plans to go out with Carol and not Larry. Sure it was only a shopping trip, and I was really thankful that Chloe had introduced me to how women preformed that activity.
But …, no matter how you wanted to say it, this girl I was crushing on so bad, was more interested in girl-me rather than boy-me. It was messing with my head regardless of the little fact that both me's were, well, me.
To put the crowning touch on it, the past few weeks had seen a series of really weird accidents that I'd suspected wasn't accidental at all.
Mysterious things like experiments gone crazy like the AI lab that had impossibly taken over the building's systems causing elevators to malfunction and the fire control systems to activate.
Or…like now more runaway robots. The dozen or so people were running at us being pursued by these sphere shaped, beach ball sized machines. I counted at least nine of the things and from the way they moved together I guessed they were part of some kind of corporative and possibly a distributed network.
A sharp crackle of electricity, followed by a yell of pain informed me that at least this time they weren't designed for the local robot wars crowd. Flamethrowers and chainsaws, you just had to love MIT sometimes.
Maybe given the cattle prods this group was intended for herding or perhaps crowd control. I would've been much happier if the designers here remembered Asimov when building these things.
Alana stared at the sight in front us.
"You've got to be kidding me!" She exclaimed staring at the scene right out of a really bad Sci-Fi channel movie.
I grabbed her hand.
"Run!" I shouted. Sure I told Jade I wouldn't go looking for trouble, but it seemed it had come looking for me. I'd helped out few people having problems because I simply couldn’t stand around and do nothing when I could help. The dilemma with that was because of my keen Jovian senses I was a lot more aware when there was something happening that needed a helping hand.
The other difficulty was that I was about 99% dead certain that someone was causing all these weird happenings on campus. It was still early days, but this could be my terrorist. However, if so they were being very cagey.
Jade had found traces of that alien tech on campus, but was unable to localize it. Even with her resources the damn things were hard to detect. The bad news was if the nanites were the cause, it was going to be very difficult bringing this to a stop.
First thing, however, I had to stop this incident, and to do that I needed to get Alana to safety as well as a little privacy for a half second.
Seeing a group of gawkers peering out a door, Alana needed no encouragement once I pointed it out to her. Both of us ran past them, but as she turned to look behind us at the spectacle, I deliberately let go of her hand, letting the crowd trying to see what was going on, separate us.
It was a simple matter to leave out the other entrance while everyone else rushed forward. Trust me, it really wasn't like lemmings hurrying to their doom. You have to remember that this was MIT and if there was one thing everyone here had in common, it was curiosity!
As for me, I triggered my change as I opened the door. My Junior GL secret decoder ring had me in my work uniform. Okay, it was only an illusion because I was really still in my usual sweater and jeans. My real work clothes were hidden back in my apartment.
They were something that Chloe had somehow gotten that were made by Queen industries. The all black one piece jumpsuit was very tough stuff and official available only to military, police and other law enforcement agencies, so just how she managed it was something I didn't want to think about too much.
On the other hand, real clothes were better than the ring's normal illusions. When I could I wore outfits made the old fashioned way since I enjoyed the comfortable sensation of actually being clothed. However, sometimes, like now, you just had to make do with what you had.
Glancing down at my chest, I still had reservations about the motif Chloe had added. Very vocally, she objected to the plain black I preferred. Personally, I thought it looked rather cool. You know that whole good guys wear black thing. She didn't see it that way saying that I needed something that would stand out.
My protests that I already was standing way too far out as it was pointing at my 'girls' fell on deaf ears. You would think I would've learned by now that arguing with her was a losing proposition. Finally I talked her down to simply adding a silver insignia.
It didn’t escape me just how much her simple 'lightning bolt' looked like a stylized 'S.' How many times do I need to say it?
"I'm not Supergirl!" I cursed louder than I intended, leaping upward into the sky.
Half looping and rolling, I Immelmann turned back over the building I'd just left. Then I dived, buzzing the 'bots letting my grav-field bounce them around. I figured their computers would need time to adjust to their new locations. That was good because I needed a chance to work out how to handle this.
Easy would be to use what cousin Chloe called the Death From Above maneuver. Fly up and using my own mass as well as my flight, and land on them smashing them flat.
Easy yes, but I couldn't help but wince at the thought. Each one of those beach balls were hand built by my fellow students. In some cases, even the circuit boards were hand soldered. A lot of work and labor went into each one, and that's counting the fact that their grades may depend on those things as well.
"Ouch!" I flinched as one of the prods flicked out at me. It really startled me rather than hurt. They'd recovered faster than I'd believed. That was a problem because I still hadn't worked out a solution other than Crush-Kill-Destroy.
On the other hand, I needed to wrap this up quick. Those cattle prods weren't lethal, but several students had been hurt. Mostly I suspect from the panic, but these things were still the cause. The campus cops was sounding the look-down; an unpleasant reality of all colleges in the 21st century due to school shootings.
Buzzing them again to keep them off balance, I shaped a rough gravity field lens that let me get an up close and personal look at one of the killer beach balls. The clear material let the gyro-stabilized cameras inside see out as well as keeping the primary bus and control unit reasonably level and centered.
Down the center was a traction strip it rolled on, but that wasn't what I was looking for. Ah, there on the right side of that was a shiny silver border going all the way around too, the antenna.
Focusing my eyes, I shifted to active infrared. A puff of smoke and the unit rolling to a stop announced I'd been on target. Being a distributed network each one I took out reduced the operating capacity of the whole.
Now to take care of the other eight.
Who are you, Carol Danvers?
That was still my question when The Blur began making their appearance. At first no one really believed it, but after a few people were saved, it became inescapable. Boston had a superhero. Or perhaps if I was correct a super-heroine?
Disappointingly it wasn’t a red and blue blur like out of the Smallville TV program, but a black and silver one. Even more discouragingly, despite nearly everyone carrying a camera phone these days, no one managed to get a good picture.
Now I’d seeded some more of my little friends about, because frankly, having access to nearly every memory storage device on campus was very useful. However, they began disappearing. No warning, just gone. Sure it was easy to replicate more, but it meant someone was on to me, and that wasn’t good.
Mother would be so disappointed in me if I broke the family motto. “Thou shall not get caught.”
I’d even tossed a few at Larry and Carol’s place, but with the same result. That made it so tempting to just cover the whole of Cambridge to see the where this nanite eater effect was centralized, but again the risk dissuaded me.
Getting caught was one thing, but I had to remember that while they were my little friends, these friends had their own agenda. Turning Greater Boston into Gray Goo wasn’t a part of my intentions, but who could be sure of theirs?
Sighing, I settled for setting photo traps. Oh, nothing really bad. Just a few arranged accidents with a lot of recording devices to catch all the action and details.
Damn it, but didn’t The Blur prove to be a very cagey adversary. So I planted a few rumors to get the campus looking at the mystery as a challenge. That was more successful yielding some better resolution images, but opening up more questions.
Instruments did register some bizarre changes in gravity during appearances of The Blur as well some other effects that couldn't be explained. Of course, I though immediately of Larry’s end of term project, the Jovians. However, I’d pretty much proven he couldn't be The Blur. Now Carol was still a prime candidate, but again I had problems confirming or denying that hypothesis.
The records I’d found of the only Carol Danvers in the area said she was a Boston native, but a casual inquiry explained her accent by her spending summers with family in Kansas. She was also in Air Force ROTC with the goal of becoming a pilot. However conversations confirmed that she was well versed in aeronautics. Then again, Larry might be coaching her which put me back to square one.
I considered simply asking her to date, but I, again, disliked putting myself in harm’s way just in case she really was The Blur. Preferring to work behind the scenes, I instead nudged Alana into spending time with Larry’s cousin. Planting listening devices on her was much more rewarding, and I got a chance to pump her about their dates.
That worked better than I anticipated. They both were smitten with each other, but never consummated their attraction. It did let me find out that during every appearance of The Blur, Carol went missing for a time. Not a 'smoking gun' since I couldn’t monitor her 24/7, but it was more than I had before.
That left me with engineering bigger and better bait. The first was just a runaway robot armed with an assortment of power tools. What was the fun in playing Robot Wars when you couldn’t attack the other team holding the remote?
Of course, The Blur arrived saving the day, but while more information was gathered, however, none was conclusive. Before I would try eliminating someone else I had to be absolutely certain of my information and the outcome. Considering the force I calculated necessary to remove someone like one of Larry's Jovians it would be spectacular to say the very least. That meant it would draw a lot of attention which also meant I would only get one opportunity.
That criteria demanded more experiments. Exploding labs, more runaway experiments, and any other sort of mayhem I could imagine.
Each and every time The Blur did her thing, yes, her. Finally I got a half-way decent image. It took a super high speed digital camera and more computer time than I want to admit cleaning up said image, but I got a picture. And it did me absolutely no good. How dare she wear a mask!
And not one of those flimsy things from the comic books either. This thing covered her entire head leaving only a mirrored shield. No facial recognition software was going to help me with that! When I had a brainstorm and used her body, it came up with Marilyn Monroe, for Gawd’s sake.
Based on the body alone, The Blur might be Carol Danvers, but again nothing solid. Merely on circumstantial evidence Carol was still looking like my best choice. However, I actually saw her get cut so which would seem to rule out her being the bulletproof Blur, but there are ways that could be faked. It all came down to the old 'she knows that I know, that she knows' if you understand my meaning.
I was considering ways of obtaining a DNA sample when the playing field changed. It seemed that all of my 'investigative' efforts had attracted the law enforcement attention. I wasn’t concerned about forensic evidence since my little friends served quite well as a cut out. But The Blur’s activities had also bought in the DMA as well as other three letter agencies.
The absolute strangest thing was my big break came not from one with three letters, but one with four, NASA. It seems one black suited woman with a silver face mask had been collecting and clearing space junk for them. Recently, she’d offered to bring back Vanguard One for them so they could study how being in orbit for 50 years had affected it. Of course they had leaped at the opportunity, and of more interest to me, she’d been paid for it.
Happily, I followed the money. Right up to the point I hit Jade-at-Green Lantern dot org. Information went in, but I couldn’t track what went out. Unsurprisingly, given the name, it was a data black hole, no doubt protected by alien computer technology. It did prove a connection between Jade and The Blur, something of which I helpfully passed on to all the interested three letter organizations.
It isn’t I’m the helpful citizen. In the last few months, they’d all become far less enthusiastic over the woman in green. Because of that they were more motivated to hunt down this so mysterious Meta. Maybe the DMA was formed to help developing Metas, but they certainly didn’t seem adverse to using them when it served their purposes either.
Besides, with them on campus I could cut back on my own efforts and concentrate on other things. It was so nice to see someone else's tax dollars at work.
A project that I'd been working on for some time was my own further development of Larry’s symbiotic concept. Setting up the lab was the hardest part of the whole undertaking. It didn’t need the full bio-hazard protections that working with nanites required. I after all had my little friends. The problem was before I would risk my one and only body with them, they had to be not only my friends, but utterly and completely my servants.
That meant overriding their existing programs which meant I needed computer power, and I do mean a lot of it. However, I also had need of facilities needed to grow the biological components. Can you say MIT’s Department of Biological Engineering? In this particular case, I needed skin.
The largest organ of the body, it protects the under lying tissues from the environment. In short anything that could harm yours truly had to get though that first. My symbiote would serve as an additional layer of protection between the world and me, but yet still let me have full use of all my senses. Actually, I went a step even further improving upon what nature gave us by giving me night vision, better hearing, and even a keener sense of smell.
And the best part was that it would live off of my secretions, and what it came into contact with on an everyday basis. I could live with it, but it couldn’t live without me, perfect!
But first I had to do some reprogramming. It’s amazing what you can find in Kansas farm fields. One of Mother’s agri-corp robotic harvesters found the alien artifact, but it was me who recognized just what it was. It must’ve been a spacecraft, but it come out the worse after that fender bender with planet Earth. It took me all of about a minute and half to say that it was not part of the Space Shuttle Columbia just now showing up.
My parents, never ones to miss an opportunity, immediately slapped it under so much security no one had a clue for what was really going on. My own involvement was rather short lived. Once I got a really good look at it, and told my Parental Units, they knew they simply didn’t have the resources to exploit this properly.
I knew it too, which was why I dug for all I was worth while I had the chance. The really remarkable thing was that it was alive in its own way. One big mass of nanites differentiated into specialized tasks. What grabbed me the most was the central mass which was nothing more than a huge very protected and extremely advanced memory storage unit.
Imagine an entire world digitized. Every life form, pebble, and drop of water preserved in a still active matrix, an electronic miniature world. Of course, I named it Kandor after the city Brainiac had captured in the Superman comics. What’s more there wasn’t just that one, but hundreds of captured worlds.
Then my Uncle came on the scene. My grandparents had cut us off from the massive corporation they controlled, but Mother now had something he wanted. She knew how to play hardball and kept the majority of control researching this fallen serendipity. However, once the paid brains descended upon us, I got patted on the head and told to run along and play.
Knowing better than to even try and cross Mother, I passed along to her everything I’d found. Most, but not all, because I did keep my samples. Building upon my earlier successes, I learned how to communicate and gained some measure of control. Ambitious yes, but I was unwilling to let Earth become yet another file in that alien ship.
A big question was why it hadn’t repaired itself yet. I had to wonder at the timing of it all. From the estimated time it’d dug out a crater in that cornfield, to the moment Jade revealed herself was only a few months. Were the two events were related? These Green Lanterns did present themselves as some kind of Intergalactic cops.
Did she or perhaps another Green Lantern shoot it down? If as I suspect that Kandor wasn’t simply recorded, but captured much like that bottled city then I can see Brainiac being a very real threat, Grand Theft Planet! I can understand why for after all, why collect something if it isn’t one of a kind. Then again, I wouldn’t want it happening to any world I was on, thank you very much.
That was why I had to be careful. That’s not talking about the other problems. For some reason the symbiote matrix didn’t want to accept my DNA. It kept differentiating back into the separate stands I’d inherited from Father or Mother. I highly regard both of my parents, but I have no desire to look like either one of them. The symbiote’s external appearance needed to be indistinguishable from my own unique self.
The latest was another failure. This one already had the beginnings of Mother’s auburn hair follicles. On the other hand, each generation allowed me to refine its other properties. I suppose any other research project would be proud to have created a new life form. However, I had higher standards.
I allowed it to continue to develop so I could evaluate if tweaks in other areas were needed. While it was cooking, so to speak, I went back to hacking alien computer code. There was the core kernels that I’d isolated. Preparing my assault, I launched the first wave designed to tie up resources while I carefully segregated each sector. It is far easier to divide and conqueror after all.
Everything was going well until I hit some kind of trip wire. The best I could describe it would be a computer code version of the dead-man switch. After losing touch with either a certain number of modules, or perhaps a specific one, it initialized a self-destruct.
Under the electron microscope, the nanite exploded. Not a problem since it was so small, but then the one next to it followed suit. There was thousands of nanites in that sample. There were millions, hundreds of millions, no billions in this lab helping me with one project or another. If they all went in a chain…
I threw myself to the floor just as the entire high voltage microscope blew. My little friends had suffered a temper tantrum, it appeared. Next, the desktop I used to scan all the pirated data I’d collected on campus went up like a bomb. It was a good thing I kept off site backups.
The fire sprinklers went off as I crawled towards the exit. My laptop went off next, my backpack not even close to containing the blast. Eying the burning fragments of what was left of my custom machine and school books, I decided the window was a better bet.
Then there she was. She stood for a fraction of a second evaluating the situation, The Blur. I knew she wasn’t that tall, only about 5’6”, however that black outfit of hers couldn’t disguise her figure silhouetted in front of the window she’d just entered. A large stylized Ess shaped lightning bolt was centered on her costume which explained the silver part of the Blur along with her mirrored face shield. If I’d only known that all I had to do was blow myself up to meet her!
I blinked and she was right beside me. Scooping me up as if my solid 245 lbs were nothing, she turned to leave when the ‘skin’ I had cooking went.
And I was right in front of it.
The last thing I remember is a muttered, “Oh shit” from her. Well, she sure had that part right.
The lights didn’t go out. They exploded into a sun consuming me.
I sat on the edge of Massachusetts General worried about my friend. Hell, I didn’t know for sure he really was or not, a friend that is. Things kept going back and forth so much I didn’t know what to think. He’d encouraged Alana to date me, I mean Carol, but then he started this contest like let’s find out who The Blur really is. Then he’s all nice again, but watch out here are the Feds and it looks like he’s feeding them information all about yours truly.
Sighing, I had to admit, I made a very poor secret agent. I had no more of an idea of who killed those people on that plane, then when I first started. I wasn’t even sure who I was sometimes. Was I Larry, Carol or maybe it’s The Blur now?
Well, I guess, I could take Alex off the suspect list since I very much doubt he would blow his own self up. However, I wondered just what he’d been working on? According to the lab log it was an artificial skin project, but something in there was sure as hell was a lot more volatile than the chemicals noted on the room’s hazardous materials list.
It was also a sure thing my terrorist was involved given the mountains of nanite parts I’d detected. Over the past year, I’d learned a lot. One of those things was how to tell when my own internal nanites detected intruders. Like a biological immune system, mine went after them like they were a virus.
At first I wasn’t sure he, she or it was the cause of some of the strangest incidents on campus. Even considering this was MIT, they were weird. I mean, runaway robots, like for real? But then it became clear that someone was engineering accidents just for me.
Behind me I heard the footsteps. I knew who was of course. The DMA had been putting pressure on me to participate in their program for some time now. Given my advantages, I’d been able to avoid them. However, several weeks ago they piled on more by strong arming NASA not to avail itself of my services anymore.
That relationship always had that good/bad thing going. I was always careful to only do things they absolutely couldn’t, like recovering those tools. Normally all NASA could do was chalk them up as lost. Being able to help out with those kinds of things was a good thing. Both of us won. They were actually saving money, and I got to practice using my abilities as well as make some money on the side.
However, I didn’t want them to grow to depend on me either. That was why I was picky when dealing with them. The other salvage was different. There was a learning curve knowing how to best dispose of the stuff. Put it up for bid or scrap it myself for whatever valuable materials I could and make sure the remains burned up.
I wondered if the DMA was going to pressure Ebay as well. Short term, I had a nice cushion built up. Flying around up there was both profitable and helped me worked off my frustrations. Considering Jade was really on the outs with like it seems like everyone, they might cut her site off.
I couldn’t help myself, but glance up at the moon. If you looked just right you could see just a tinge of color. Personally, it made me smile. Mars wasn’t up yet, but I knew Jade was there. She was living what I’d dreamed about my whole life, going out there, To Boldly Go.
Oh well, back to business. “The answer is no, Agent Carmichael. I choose not to avail myself of your agency’s services.”
“This isn’t a choice.” He gloated. “You’re required by law to register your real identity and address to the proper authorities, me.”
“You’re actually mistaken, Agent Carmichael.” I replied not turning to look at him. “I’ve read your charter. Your mission is to support and assist emerging Metas. No where is there a registration requirement. Unless of course you’re now working for the DEO. Theirs is much more open ended and open to interpretation. In any case, I choose not to participate.”
Opening my senses, I could taste the radio traffic buzzing busily all around me. Specifically, I was aware of the hidden earphone and sub-vocal mike on the man behind me. It was encrypted of course, but when your entire body is one big commune of nanites, you have a lot of computing power.
A group of four guys dressed in SWAT gear waited behind the stairway access about 25 meters away.
'Blue Two is in position.'
Another four had crept up using the industrial sized air-conditioning units for cover.
'Red Three, ready and willing.'
Two men, directly in front me on the building across the street, were observing me. One had a scoped sniper rifle and the other a spotter scope.
'Green Four. We have the target sighted and laid in.'
Of course, Agent Carmichael had to crisis manage everything himself.
'This is Gold One. All units hold fast for my signal.'
Somehow I kept from giggling. How Star Wars of them!
“If you don't, I’ll arrest you as a terrorist suspect for tonight’s bombing at MIT.” He tensed up. “We know who you are, Chloe Sullivan.”
Okay, I lost it, snorting. “I’m sure Miss Sullivan, whoever she is, will be very surprised to hear that. No, but please try, Agent Carmichael.”
Not being able to help myself I sent,'This is Red Five, I’m going in!'
It’s really not my fault that Chloe decided it was her gawd given duty to educate me in popular culture. Really I should’ve never let her know I could visit home so effortlessly. Hmm… maybe they managed to track my flight path somehow. In any case, if I know Chloe she was prepared for just about anything including this.
While Carmichael was sub-vocally freaking out, I called her. One of the other nice things I’d learned was how to listen to radio waves. It was simple to work out the cell phone system. Blue tooth had nothing on me. Look Ma, no hands!
Chloe: Hey Carol what’s up?
Me: Nothing much. Just wanted to let you know the DMA finally managed to corner me. Our friendly neighborhood terrorist struck again and put my friend Alex in the hospital. They caught me on the roof waiting for news.
Chloe: Oh no! Is he going to be alright?
Me: I hope so. He was crawling with nanites despite my immune system eating them up. Oh and get this.
Me: They think you’re The Blur.
Chloe: *Laughing* I only wish!
Me: At least you know who you are. I have to keep a play book handy just to make sure I’m who I’m supposed to be.
Chloe: Okay, that part I don’t envy you.
Me: Well, I’ve got to go, just wanted to let you know just in case they try anything.
Chloe: Thanks for the heads up, Carol. Sounds like a plan 34!
Me: No problem. I knew you had to have something prepared. Bye!
Chloe: Bye, bye, be careful.
Meanwhile my Agent Smith wannabe was having trouble trying to keep sub-vocalizing.
'This is Gold One. Whoever you are Red Five identify yourself!'
I raised my hand. Just in case, I bought up my grav field keeping it very close to me so the shear factor would work as a defense. I was only mostly bullet proof and that was an awful big rifle sitting over there. Against bullets it worked pretty good, but not so much versus standing in front of laboratories blowing up like small nukes.
“Why, Agent Carmichael are you trying to vote me off the planet?” I said aloud.
Dumbfounded at the developments he replied, “Huh?”
“This is, after all just one small world. Didn’t you people learn anything from Jade? Like her I can just leave, however I have a job to do and you’re interfering.” I patiently explained.
“And what might that be,” He demanded, recovering some of his composure and arrogance.
“About the only thing you’ve got right is that there is a terrorist. I’ve been working undercover trying to catch whoever it is, because they are using advanced alien derived technology. That is what caused this latest explosion.” I said, carefully keeping myself calm.
“Sure you are. If so, who are you working for?” He requested sarcastically.
Thinking about Jade and the now Star Sapphire Corps, the answer was simple.
“You don’t have a need to know.” I said, with a smile.
“Now!” Agent Carmichael of the DMA ordered.
Before the word came all the way out of his mouth, I snapped upwards at high sub-sonic, mach 0.85. The displaced air blew him backwards, but my calculations were on the money. He stayed in the building.
I almost missed the aircraft that vectored in after me. Considering how often I did the Boston to orbit thing in this age of Homeland Security paranoia that was remarkable. Or maybe not, since I was a small target and could shape my nearly frictionless shield thing leaving a very tiny footprint.
Like I said, I’d learned a lot!
Even still seeing the bright thermo flare of a missile launch caused me to swallow hard. They were really shooting a missile at me?
It was a very good thing that within my field I didn’t feel any effects from acceleration. Even a Jovian would be goo from the kick in the pants of going from subsonic to Mach 5. The damn thing was bigger than I was, although we weighted about the same. According to the stats, the Stark AIM-120 AMRAAM missile was limited to Mach 4, but I wasn’t taking any chances. A second later, I pushed even harder coming near Mach 6. The missile limited by aerodynamics didn’t even come close.
Breaking atmosphere, I hung there for a moment watching the beautiful planet turn beneath me. Then I turned for the moon aiming for that small dot of sapphire. Right now, I really needed to feel the love.
Awakening was not pleasant. The sounds of medical equipment and the astringent odor all hospitals have were the clues of damnation. I’d royally screwed the pooch, and worse, got caught.
Opening my eyes, I saw Mother and Father. My evaluation of my condition changed. I’d Royally Effed up beyond all possible redemption. All that was missing was The Blur and the Green Lanterns or whatever color they were this week, pink, blue, or polka dots for all I knew. There of course to arrest me.
However, while the private nurse rang for the doctor, I saw someone I didn’t know. He was silhouetted against the window. My eyes sight shimmered for an istant as his image became clearer.
I had to take a deep breath. This went beyond simple adapting to the light. I knew what it was. The flawed symbiote I’d been working on. The one that’d exploded in my face thanks to that damn meddling Blur! If I’d been left alone, I could’ve safely crawled to the window … probably.
I closed my eyes taking silent inventory: Faint tugging upon my head despite my keeping my head bald. There were strange shifting sensations upon my chest with every breath. My sense of smell seemed to be keener picking up on Mother’s perfume, as well as Father and that stranger’s aftershave.
There were three hypotheses. One of those was very inconvenient, while the second was very bad. The third I could discount since I was still alive, reasoning and had a sense of self.
“Alex,” Mother whispered. That more than anything told me how worried she was. Her, our, family had always stressed being decisive.
“Mom,” I mouthed back. No, I wasn’t ready to test that out yet, and I decided that right now neither of us wanted the usual formality.
Lifting a hand, so I could see, I dropped it back on the bed.
Father looked me in the eye and simply nodded.
Theory number two it was, much to my dismay.
The DNA in the growth solution along with fragments of millions of my little friends had hit me at the speed of sound. Some of them must’ve escaped destruction by the dead-man switch chain reaction/explosion, and they had continued on with their previous programming.
So instead of my being in a burn ward, the nanites had continued building the symbiote using me for the raw materials. Since I hadn’t been completely consumed, that was Hypothesis Three, at least part of the developing symbiote had protected me as designed. Instead of it serving a protective addition my flawed creation had alternatively replaced my own badly damaged ectodermal tissues.
“Speak to me, Alex,” Mom ordered. “I didn’t give birth to any cowards.”
Dad’s expression over her shoulder showed he supported her.
“No you didn’t,” I answered missing the baritone I’d inherited from him. Unsurprisingly, I sounded a lot like her.
“Of course not,” the stranger by the window added. “You are family after all, despite past disagreements. I doubt it’s even in our nature.”
As he turned, I knew that profile. Anyone familiar with the world of high finance knew his face as well as they did Steve Jobs, Tony Stark, or Bruce Wayne’s.
“Uncle Alexander,” I greeted the uncle I’d never met.
A glance at my parents had them silently giving me grace to continue.
“Please,” He said, before I could say anything else. “We’re family, just Lex.”
“Uncle Lex,” I replied refusing to drop that much formality. It was a shield against whatever had prompted him to leave his corporate offices. For more than 20 years he’d ignored family ties and even had continued the estrangement my grandfather had begun when he’d disowned Mother.
He wanted something and wanted it bad.
My Uncle nodded to the doctor who rushed in. Examining me, the physician had the usual plastic smile that went along with his paid bedside manner. It quickly became obvious he wasn’t going to tell me anything I didn’t already know. I had designed the original symbiot and was intimately familiar with the defective DNA.
Tuning him out, I turned my attention to what was truly important, the unspoken communication between my parents and Uncle. Clearly a deal had been struck, and it’d involved me and my altered circumstances. Just as obviously, it was for high stakes.
Another gesture from my dear Uncle had a pair of orderlies muscling in a full-length mirror. No, he had no need to throw his weight around. Like a singularity, everything else threw themselves at him. Extreme caution was needed or otherwise I would lose my own freedom fated to orbit around him until annihilation.
To succeed I would have to be daring, innovative, and focused. Taking the first step, I studied my reflection. Perhaps it was best to say what I didn’t see. My impressive six feet four, bald intimating African-American masculinity weighing in at 245 pounds wasn’t anywhere to be seen. No more dark eyes or stony brow where a simple stare could force others to do what I desired.
Although I’d expected it, seeing it was not …pleasant.
Mother’s fiery auburn hair and green eyes were there, but the flawless café-Au-lait they rested upon was astonishing. I realized that somehow my original DNA was also a part of the mixture that’d formed the new me.
That was reassuring. I loved and respected Mother, but there was no desire to be a copy of her. I would like to think that I was more than the sum of my parts. That me was singularly unique and a one of kind.
The more I saw, the more that became apparent. Yes, I was smaller in both height and breadth, but again not quite so much as Mother. Perhaps I could even be called slender given how my little friends and my creation had ravaged my entire body for resources. However, there was still the promise of strength even if it was more along a feminine design than the one I preferred.
Taking inventory of my assets it was plain I would have to revise how I interacted with society. Although Father had taught me well how to use my masculine advantages, I wasn’t fool enough not to be aware of how Mother trumped him at every turn. She was an expert plying her trade of getting what she wanted, a master, or rather a Mistress of the art.
I had new things to learn. Mother and Father both nodded in approval as they saw my realization. Remembering how ruthlessly efficiently she helped me with my calculus in my advanced placement school homework, this was going to be anything, but a breeze. She demanded perfection, and believed that if you truly wanted something done right, you had to do it yourself.
As the hired help cleared the room, I knew we were finally going to get down to the real business.
Uncle Lex cleared his throat.
“Alexander Thorul is dead. He died in a laboratory explosion.” He walked up and stood by my bed. “The Meta known as The Blur is wanted for questioning regarding the incident, but I fear there simply isn’t enough evidence to charge her for causing it, pity.”
I gave silent assent for him to continue. In any case that was my feelings as well, although pity doesn’t exactly describe how I felt. Someday there would be a settling of debts between her and I, but for now I had more immediate concerns.
“The tragedy of losing Alexander has pulled our fractured family together. The Thorul’s has bonded with you, my long lost niece.” He didn’t so much as explain as he commanded. He was my Uncle.
“Who knows,” He said, dryly. “Perhaps seeing you take such an active role by my side will convince my own daughter to return.”
“So,” I asked. “What is the real reason for all of this subterfuge?”
He raised an eyebrow.
“Don’t underestimate jealousy and envy, my dear,” my uncle remarked. “It is possible this will return her to the fold. However, the primary motivation for this is that you were a bad girl. You, hmmm… appropriated corporate property.”
His hand came up before I could protest.
“Yes, I know it was you that discovered the uniqueness of the artifact. That does not mitigate your taking it.” His eyes met mine in disapproval.
“What does,” Uncle Lex said, after letting me stew for a few moments, “Is that you’ve managed to get further than any of our other researchers working this project. While like any good corporation we’re looking into several different avenues regarding this new technology, all of them come with unpleasant strings attached. I would much prefer having full access to its fruits.”
I frowned disagreeing over my perceived success.
“All I did was blow up myself and my lab.” I held up my transformed hand to make my point.
“I can’t imagine how you feel right now, but I can tell you that there are worse fates. You did avoid nearly all the, let’s call it, copy protection, with the exception of that last. Additionally, your methods allowed you to gain at least partial control. Perhaps that interloper, The Blur, is responsible, but the very fact you’re alive and not very seriously injured in the burn ward, is proof you’re on the right track.” he countered.
“And let’s be frank. These aliens have all but invaded our world. Posters of them and their Meta quislings are sold in stores all over the world. Only a few months ago this Jade brutally attacked another group of aliens without any explanation. Then she flaunted the law by refusing responsibility for her crime. If we want to keep Earth from being sold like Long Island for nothing more than a few beads, we have to be bold.” Uncle Lex said passionately.
He did have some valid points. We knew from our own history what happens to a lesser advanced civilization when it runs into another further developed. And it was clear that these Green Lanterns weren’t universally loved either, given that incident my Uncle mentioned. They could be taking advantage of us and we would never know. We had only their word, and who knew how much that was worth?
“Okay, so I come clean and disclose my research.” I put his ‘offer’ into simple terms. “And in return my family gets back on your Christmas card list?”
“Oh much more than that, my dear!” He laughed. “For one you’ll be a part of the team studying, I believe you called it Brainiac. You’ll be on your own, but will be expected share your results as the other researchers will have to also disseminate their own findings. And since my dear sister Lena, your mother, is in charge of the project, you can be sure your contributions will receive all due consideration.”
“Additionally,” he continued, “You’ll be groomed for a position high within the company. While I may want my daughter, who is named after you, Sister, to inherit the company, it will not leave the family.”
Did he say what I thought he just did?
“Uncle, I’m more of the hands on type than a manager, although you and Tony Stark are examples that both can be done.” I replied, not trying to sound too eager. Hands on, maybe so, but the prestige and power of sitting at the head of the table of Luthor Corp? Hell yes!
His eyes hardened at the mention of Stark, one of his chief rivals, but he didn’t let that stop him. Everyone in this room knew working out the details of this ‘deal’ was going to be complex.
“So is it a deal?” My Uncle asked.
I held out my hand, that too small, too pale and far too damn feminine appendage, to shake his.
“I’m your girl.” The words leaving my mouth were pure bravado. There was no need for me to glance at Mother. She knew me, but I was certain that before she was finished with me, I would be just as effective as I was under Fathers tutelage. Perhaps I would be even more so given the advantages of my symbiote. Stronger, and faster were definitely possibilities, but I was already more perceptive. Little clues like odor, and changes in pupil dilation were much easier for me to detect. All were things that could be read and used to my advantage.
He smiled taking my hand in his like he would a woman’s.
“Welcome to the family, Alexandra Luthor.” My Uncle Lex kissed my hand. Time would tell just who had made a deal with the devil.
I was feeling pretty damn low by the time I got home. Alex was dead? I’d done all I could, but it hadn’t been enough. That terrorist was still out there and worse now the DMA, the DEO and who knew who else was after me now.
It was only a matter of time before they had American Dream or Wonder on my trail. Despite how depressed I felt, I was real careful going back to my place. Where else could I go? Home was out. No way did I want to drag Mom and Dad into this mess. Chloe was already in trouble and probably being watched. That left only my apartment, I shared with me, and myself. Talk about being sad.
Surprisingly, I didn’t find anyone or even any surveillance devices watching my place. Oh come on! My disguise can’t possibly that good. Just how many women are built like I am? It boggled my mind that they honestly thought Chloe was me, The Blur.
Perhaps they saw her transitioning and jumped to the conclusion it was really just covering up a Meta transformation. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. Additionally, there wasn’t any official documentation that listed a Carol Danvers living here.
I hope if they did pick up the real one, that she wasn’t too inconvenienced. Did that mean I wasn’t real? Besides, going to classes as Larry, I spent nearly all of my time as Carol.
The doorbell rang. A quick glance using my super-duper vision revealed a worried looking Alana.
Guilt flooded me again. She’d lost Alex too.
A very rushed costume change had me as Carol, opening the door.
Crying, she fell into my arms.
“Alex is dead!”
Somehow, I got both us inside before my own tears joined hers. Then my failure to save him overwhelmed me in great sobs shaking me down to my very soul.
It became her holding me. Sure, it was a part of our culture that men don’t cry, but I wasn’t a man any more. I hadn’t been for a year, and while I’d learned so much about been more than human, I was still learning about what it was to be a woman.
Blame it on hormones and the moon, I was much more emotional although I could set it aside if I had to. By that, I mean it wasn’t debilitating, and in a lot of ways it was good. It seemed as a boy, male, a man, that I’d never truly felt anything as intensely as I did now.
The most important of all of those things was the love I had for the woman holding me. At first, the jealousy I felt was ironic as all get out. From the very beginning, anyone with eyes could see Alana had the hots for me as Carol. However, me as Larry had this long time crush on her. Could you really be envious of yourself? I certainly tried.
Really, as Carol, I fell headlong for Alana. She was a different person than with Larry. Oh she was still the same pixie faced genius who changed her hair color and style as often as she did her clothes, but she also had this romantic streak, she normally covered up with this cynical shell.
So, yeah Larry dreamed of her, but Carol had the reality. That was the problem. I didn’t get it until the second or third time something bizarre happened near Alana. My Terrorist suspected that she had something to do with The Blur. In other words, my relationship with her was endangering this woman I cared so much for.
Very cautiously, I did the best I could not to involve The Blur near her. However, I couldn’t completely stop appearing when she was around either. You know that old statistics thing where a negative can prove a positive.
I also couldn’t push her away for the same reason. Okay, it’s true. I couldn’t do it, although I thought about it. I loved her too much. Yes, it would hurt me, but it would also hurt her. That I just couldn’t make myself do that no matter what the reason or rationalization.
So I was crying for a lot of reasons.
“It’s not your fault,” Alana whispered in my ear as she smoothed my hair.
Time froze. She knew?
“Everything’s all right.” She told me softly. “I’ve known for awhile now. Did you really expect me not to notice how you and Larry are never in the same room together or how when there’s trouble you just happen not to be found?
“And when you had you cousin Chloe standing in for you don’t count.” Alana said smiling red eyed from her own tears.
“I don’t know how she looked just like you, but, you two covered it all except for your scents.” She answered my unasked question. “Chloe prefers Victoria Secret Pink and Vera Wang’s Princess, but you’re a Moon Sparkle girl.”
Despite my weeping, I blushed. Chloe brought it for me as a joke, but I found I rather liked the fruity sweet smell.
“However, what gave your Larry identity away was Dolce and Cabbana’s “The One.”
“Huh?” I replied confused.
“That’s the scent I wear, silly!” She said punching me. “It was that night when we really made out. Then the next day I smelled the scent on Larry! I do have a very refined sniffer thank you very much.”
“Alana,” I began, but she put a finger to my lips.
“No you listen. I love you. For someone who was never in the Boy Scouts, you’re the biggest one I know. You don’t have a clue of how tough it is not knowing what’s happening when you pull one of your Superman phone-booth stunts.
“I bet you didn’t even know that someone was recording that whole business of you sitting on top of Mass. General.” She continued almost angrily. “It’s a good thing I color my hair because it would all be gray after seeing that jet shoot that missile at you.”
“You saw all of that?” I was astonished that someone manage to film it all.
“Yes, all of it.” Alana said scathingly. “There’s this school in town called MIT. It’s one of the top schools for technology in the country, so maybe you’ve heard of it?”
“It’s all over Youtube.” She said blandly. “The second you were seen hanging out on the roof, the nerd patrol scrambled like crazy to get their cutting edge cameras there in time. What else do you expect Miss I’m moving so fast I’m only a blur? The only person I hear is faster than you is the Flash in Phoenix.
“So yes, I saw every detail as the person I love is being shot at by the US freaking Air Force.”
Okay, Alana is a little upset. Wait! Did she say love?
“Could that missile catch you?” She asked. “No, don’t answer that! I don’t want to know.”
Love? She loves me?
And another thing,” She went on. “I saw that second movie. Don’t you even think about doing that super hypnosis thing on me.”
“Even If I could, I would never do such a thing.” Returning the favor, I placed my fingers on her lips. “Hurting you would hurt me. I love you too!” I replaced my fingers with my lips as I gently kissed her.
The two of us had made out before, but hadn’t gone any further. Perhaps it was my secrets that’d been between us. Maybe it was the grief of losing our friend that’d broken the barriers holding us back. Our passions carried us to new unexplored places which neither of us regretted.
As the morning sun shined her rays upon Alana’s face sleeping at my side, I felt more tears tickle down my cheeks. Of all the awe inspiring sights I’d seen this last year, this one moved me more than them all. The Earth rise over the Sea of Tranquility came so very close, but none more.
However like all moments it to passed lost in time, but never would I forget this.
Then Alana proved me a liar as she opened her eyes and smiled into mine.
The doorbell rang.
A thermographic glance revealed a Fed Ex guy with a package. With all the weirdness going on in my life, I couldn’t ignore it.
Giving my love an apologetic smile, I got up. Since Larry officially lived here, I did my magic ring thing back to him after passing briefly out of Alana’s line of sight. I’d learned from Chloe and my parents that seeing me spontaneously change could creep people out.
Signing for the registered letter, I wondered even with all my troubles who it was.
Alana must’ve seen my face fall as I began reading. Tenderly she took it from my slack hand, as I nodded my okay.
Her response wasn’t much different from mine.
“Are you going to do it?” She asked, as she held me.
“Yes.” Clearly I was over my head. It was time to ask for help.
One week later-
One of the great things about having this super-vision thing was being able to peek out from behind the curtains without anyone knowing. For that matter the wall, or just about anything else, I mused nervously as I tried to make light of the chaos waiting for me out there. Despite the cold, it was early December in Boston, there was a big crowd.
I really wasn’t sure about this, but I had to trust my advisors. Everyone thought this was the best way to handle this whole snowballing mess.
They weren’t the one who was going to have to be out in front of that pack of animals. What am I saying? That was an insult to the animal kingdom. It was far worse than that. We’re talking about the press!
“Blur, you’re on!” My ring buzzed with the signal from Chloe.
It was show time. I wish I could be as enthusiastic as Mr. Incredible about those words. Launching myself from the roof, I floated down gracefully. Falling snow flakes swirled around me, but it would take far more severe conditions to bother me.
“That’s it. Let them all know you’re the real thing.” My hidden supporters coached.
I wasn’t so sure about that given how many Metas could fly and was tough enough to brave this weather. I sure as hell was giving them an eyeful. There was nothing wrong with my full coverage black jumpsuits and face mask. I even let Chloe put that lightning bolt on it to liven it up.
But no! That wasn’t good enough for this … this …. Event.
About all it had in common with my normal, okay, it’s a costume, is it’s mostly black. That is along with making me feel also mostly undressed! Sure my arms and legs are covered, but it was everything else in-between I had a problem with.
At least Chloe had decency to blush when I asked what fetish site she ordered everything from. I mean really! I had on gleaming long, black, opera gloves, and these thigh boots which really put me outside my comfort zone. What made me even more uncomfortable was the one piece swimsuit-like thing I was wearing. With the gloves and boots, it left my shoulders and a lot, a whole lot, of my upper legs and hips bare.
If it hadn’t been Alana who’d approached me about the bikini waxing someone would’ve gotten hurt.
The lightning bolt was still there, but now it was a golden yellow going from my left shoulder zigzagging across my breasts to my right hip. No, we’re not trying to call attention to anywhere are we! Then the women, not content with that, decided I needed more color and added this silly red sash. The damn thing wouldn’t stay up, so it ended up pined to what little fabric I had on my right hip so it would hang just so.
You don’t want to know what happened when very innocently I asked if they wanted more color why I couldn’t have a cape. At least that would be practical and help cover me up.
And my so useful silvered full face mask? Gone too, replaced by this completely useless domino mask that didn’t conceal anything at all.
As soft as a feather, I landed in front of the podium Professor Swan’s lawyers had arranged. Next to it was a cloth covered stone.
“I’m going to make a short statement and then I will answer a few questions.” I announced, even more uncomfortable with how high my voice squeaked, despite my support team assuring me it was perfect. Finally, I’d found out just how Alana had spoofed Alex all those months ago. She’d bound helium atoms with a slow release compound into a piece of gum. We were using the same basic method to disguise my voice now to foil all those with high tech audio gear.
“This past week a student at MIT died. I attempted to save him and flew him to Mass. General. Despite my efforts and that of the trauma team he didn’t make it.”
“Okay great! Now look at everyone going from your left to right.”
I surveyed the crowd just as Chloe directed. All of this was just one big show. There was ton of makeup on my face as well as even some movie stuff to change the shape of my face. Jade had helped some too directing the ring to help the disguise like it had when I had pretended to get cut a few weeks ago.
“The DMA tried to arrest me, after I’d already given a statement to the local authorities when I’d carried Alex Thorul to the emergency room. In the past, I’d been pressured to cooperate with them, but I have no desire or need for their assistance.” I paused to take a breath. Everything I was wearing was designed to help throw off any observers. Hell, I was even wearing a wig with my own blond hair hidden. That was just for any sharp-eyed observers and a few of those artificial hairs would be left behind here at the podium for anyone else who was curious.
“Much has also been made of the work I’ve done for NASA. I’ve always thought of it as being like the kid who helps cleans up a neighbor’s backyard for some extra cash. All the items I’ve recovered or disposed were things the present technology wouldn’t let them touch. For a fraction of the cost, I could and did take care of the problems for them. Like I said, just the enterprising kid earning some extra bucks.”
After I received that letter from Professor Swan’s lawyers, Siegel and Shuster, I had a talk with them. They were happy to represent me. Things were still up in the air, but at least I hadn’t had to leave the planet. I would not have my freedom taken away, and certainly not for something I didn’t do.
“However, the real reason I called this conference is because of Professor Otto Swan. This last week was especially tragic for MIT because not only did a student lose his life, but they also lost a long time teacher who was much beloved by all who knew him.” I felt my eyes misting and hoped I could make it though this without breaking down.
“It wasn’t violence, but the infirmities of old age that bought him down. Despite those health issues, he insisted on teaching to the very end. His passion and teaching methods inspired generations of students here. Those same students have gone on to make a tidal wave of discoveries and inventions that have changed the world. He will be missed.” A ragged breath reminded me of just how little I wore, but my own passions were overwhelming me.
“But not even death could halt his enthusiasm and zeal. He left instructions that I or Jade be contacted upon his death. The Professor’s last request was that his ashes be taken to Mars and be placed upon the tallest mountain in the solar system, the Home of the Gods, Olympus Mons.”
I uncovered the plaque.
It was pretty much your standard looking headstone. According to his letter to me, it was made to withstand the conditions on that far summit. Another thing that was different was the blacked out area on the bottom.
“As you can see, the epitaph has been hidden. The Professor specifically requested that as well. The only way to know what it says will be to go to Mars and find out for yourself. Think of it as his challenge to all of us to reach beyond our limits not just as individuals, but as a species, for all of mankind.” Damn, a tear slowly ran down my cheek anyways. I just had to hope it wouldn’t dislodge any of this makeup.
“I’m ready for questions, now.” Not really, but this was all part of the show.
“Are you really going to take this to Mars?” One of them asked disbelievingly. I think her name was Lois Lane.
“That would be a yes,” I answered. “Jade currently has her own problems with the government and so is unavailable. I think of it as my own trial to test my limits. It’s well within my abilities, and if I do run into trouble, well, Jade is after all already on Mars. Think of it of being like swimming the English Channel.”
There was a lot questions I didn’t answer like how long would it take me. They got an “It's classified,” and a smile.
One good question was, “Would I be doing anything scientific while on Mars?”
“NASA has been prohibited from tasking me with anything,” I pointed out. “However, it is Christmas. We’ll just have to see.”
“Good job, but it’s time to wrap this up!” Chloe directed.
I was about to follow her directions when the red headed photographer standing next to Lois Lane yelled, “I thought you were suppose to be some kind of Supergirl, but you have a big lightning bolt like Captain Marvel out of Shazam. Which are you?”
That made me pause. I’d enough of Supergirl a long, long time ago. Glancing down at my scandalous costume, I had to admit he had a point.
“Well, so I do,” I said smiling. “Just call me, Ms. Marvel.”
Picking up the half-ton memorial, in one hand, I waved with my other as I rose into the air. Clearing to a safe distance, I went to Ludicrous Speed. This girl had places to be.
MIT campus 12 hours later-
Snow fell upon the burnt out ruins of the lab. Black ash and soot were all that remained of the high tech facility. The yellow warning tape waved in the chill breeze, but with the campus on holiday break there was no one to see.
First one very tiny speck of black soot turned reflective, and then another. Glittering in the gloom, as if looking around for danger, tentatively they grew larger to the size of marbles. Sensing no threats, a virtual constellation of shining specks appeared all over the charred building.
The two original scouts began moving, rolling like marbles over the other smaller latecomers. As they did, that mass was added to their own, growing larger. The rest of the sparkling hoard began moving as well. Faster they rolled inward making a weirdly beautiful spiral as all the shiny bits collected in the center in a pool that resembled obsidian glass. Shimmering, liquid like, it began flowing upward like a melting ice statue filmed in reverse. As the last traces joined the ebony form, it gained definition and detail further refining itself becoming human-like.
All motion ceased, but for the falling snow.
Bottomless, deep black eyes opened as the figure took first one breath and then another. Slowly it looked around the ruin laboratory. Spotting a clear path out it took an uncertain step, but the second one was better. By the time it’d cleared the devastated building its stride was sure and confident. Ignoring the yellow caution tape blocking its way out, the broken plastic ribbon twisted in the wind behind it.
Not looking back, the dark figure's footsteps were soon swept away by the snow leaving no sign of its passing.
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