\ "The Coming Age" (Nov 29, 2003 to Jan 6, 2010) | unlimitedi.net
Skip to main content

"The Coming Age" (Nov 29, 2003 to Jan 6, 2010)

MrDave's picture

Nov 29, 2003 - Mutant Terrorist organization Earthrage drop Mutaxintm on Washington, DC during a world conference on Metahumans.

Jan 6, 2010 - the 150th Anniversary of Vega City.
The President of the United States is expected to be there to declare January 6th to be "National Hero Day" - a holiday to remember the heroes of the world (including firefighters, police, rescue workers, super-heroes , nurses, doctors, and all who give service without seeking reward).

What has happened between these two events? What hasn't?

An alien war in space.

A robot revolution.

All sorts of terrorist, super-villain, and even nuclear events.

How did it happen? This is the question isn't it? It all seemed no normal at the time...

Events in the life of a science-heroine

TwistedStranger's picture

2003-2010: Events (Start time: Early December ’03.)

It was three o’ clock in the morning when the next incident of divine intervention occurred. Alex was suddenly surprised by the presence of a hand on her shoulder, pushing her. There was music playing in the background, someone yelling about “two hookers and an eight ball”. She was further surprised that she was suddenly wide-awake, when merely seconds before, she was out like a pole-axed bison. She spun around in bed (a maneuver she quickly regretted, as the sheets got tangled around her legs and started cutting off their circulation) to face her would-be assailant, and saw the familiar face of a dark haired teenager in a “Spell #1” T-shirt over her. She let out a moan.

“Gan, why the hell do we always have to do this?”

“My natural flair for the dramatic, babe. You know if I came to you while you were working it wouldn’t be as fun. For one thing, I’d get escorted off your property for trespassing. You also wouldn’t be so gosh-darned attentive.” He grinned, showing a frightening assortment of different-shaped teeth. Gan had not, apparently, achieved divine status in the era of orthodontia and good dental work. “C’mon. Get up so I can talk to you properly.”

Alex relented and finally rose from her bed. Or at least, she tried to, because her legs were still tangled in the sheets. To keep from smashing to the floor, she quickly put her hands out and started levitating. Once she had kicked free of the sheets, she stood herself upright and slumped into a sitting position on the bed.

“What now?” she said, annoyed, “Did you make a mistake and give the powers to the wrong person? Did you visit me to make me get rid of them?”

“Nah. Nothing like that. Have you been doing what I said the last time I came by?”

Alex tried to remember the first time this had happened. “Let’s see…” she half-muttered, “Quit my job, yeah, did that, kick some ass if possible…” she looked up. “Looks like it.”

“You’ve also been on a buying binge recently. Last time I saw you, it didn’t look like you’d be arrested for indecent exposure for getting out of bed and walking out on to your balcony in your PJs.”

Alex opened her mouth, but realized she wasn’t dealing with a criminal, but someone who could easily take away everything she had struck terror into the hearts of the deserving with. She closed it quickly.

“So, I’ve heard you have a nemesis.” Gan said, attempting to make small talk to cover up the awkward moment the two were sharing.

Alex nodded. “He was one of my colleagues. He doesn’t have enough mental capacity to figure out where I live, otherwise I’d be dead…and so would Changer.”

“An insane evil genius. I approve. He knows you, or he knows Changer?”

“He knows both of us, but he hasn’t put it together yet. The device he had surgically implanted in his brain took care of that.”

“This wouldn’t be, oh, say, something like the psionic operator or the force-beam device, both of which I told you to destroy because they would lead to insanity and the probable destruction of all which someone had created, right?”

“Of course not,” Alex lied, “ He just happened to develop his own psychically activated death ray. I had nothing to do with it.”

“Oh, bitchin’!” the slacker-god said, almost leaping out of the seat he had appeared in, “It’s just like one of those movies I hear about! So, has he threatened your loved ones yet?”

“He can’t find them, Gan. When he does, what’s he going to do, resurrect them just to threaten me? My parents died of old age. I was an only child.”

“Oh.” He was disappointed. “Well then. Get yourself laid. I command it, it is my will. Shtoink somebody. Several different somebodies, if possible. Get yourself some attachment, for my sake! I need some drama here! Oh, yeah, and stop sleeping all night. That’s what the day’s for.”

“Fine, whatever.” Alex said. “Can I go back to bed now? I had a long day.”

“Sure.” Gan said. “I’m gonna try something different here.” He punched a specific point on her stomach, and she collapsed into the fetal position, unconscious. Her last thought was, why the fuck does it always end like this? It’s annoying, not to mention immature.

Time: January, ‘05

As Changer flew over the city, she realized she had been forgetting something this entire time: A heating unit. She could fly over the city at a speed fast enough to negate most of the cold air, but this was the middle of the night during a record winter in Vega, so eventually she’d feel it. She cursed herself for planning this out the way she did. Of course no one was going to commit crimes in this weather! It was too cold to do anything like that. Most likely, they would try to do it during the day, when it was warmer and didn’t make a vacation in Siberia feel like…well, like a seventy-degree day without rain. At least the past few months since the last divine intervention were fairly quiet. A couple of small-timers had tried to smuggle controlled substances at the behest of a man only known as “Honest Bill”. Alex had spent the next few months trying to find Bill, only to eventually realize that there was no trace of him. It was like he had never existed in the first place. There were a great many villains like that.

A sudden bolt of light in front of her broke her concentration, causing her to plummet out of the sky as quickly as she could. She righted herself in time to see another bolt of light hit her in the chest. Her suit absorbed most of the blow, but she fell to the ground. Luckily, it wasn’t that far, but it still hurt enough to get her attention. A thug was standing there, holding a gun with the ProtoDyne logo stamped on the barrel. A gun they had probably developed based on the plans Fitzhugh had given them for the force-beam projector that was now lodged in his head. Poor Fitzhugh. He was now incurably insane. Changer almost felt sorry for him. Alex most definitely did.

“I should have known.” She said, sotto voce. “You’re working for Force, right?”

The thug, a man who looked like he had been involved in a super-soldier experiment and then put through an acid spray, shook his head. “You don’t know squat, pretty lady.” He said, his voice sounding stilted, southern, and betraying an IQ lower than a bowl of offal. “I’m workin’ for a big-shot comp’ny. They’s said I could do whatever I felt like, an’ I feel like goin’ after some sup’rheroes. They said I should start with one that flies around at night n’ looks real strange. Say goodbye, pretty lady.”

“Great. Listen, um…” she trailed off, not knowing his name, and then realizing it didn’t matter, “whoever the fuck you are, that may not be exactly beneficial to continuing your career. In fact,” she said, reaching around to behind her neck and activating her power to charge her reflexes and strength, “I can give you really good odds that your life expectancy will be lowered simply by doing this right here. We crusaders for justice tend to be really hard to kill.” Her eyes continued to glow black as she lifted herself off the ground. He fired.

She twisted around it and went for the kill shot, delivering a blow to the neck that, for all intents and purposes, should have crushed his Adam’s apple. It instead glanced off. Her hand started to throb with pain, even through her glove. She looked at it, briefly considering herself lucky that her eyes were hidden behind the blank lenses of her cowl. Signs of surprise were usually fatal in this line of work. She shook it off as he fired a shot that might have reduced her head to a smoldering pile of ashes had she not abruptly shot forward, pulling a somersault over him in midair to land upside-down in a handstand on the barrel of his weapon.

While she was pulling this off, a blast grazed her cheek, opening a cut. She bit the inside of her lip to keep her mind off the pain. Now that he couldn’t shoot her, she kept her grip on the barrel and lowered herself to the ground. While she was concentrating on this, he lashed out, trying to hit her. She responded by turning the gun into a foam-rubber stick. The stick hit her and bounced off, causing no more damage. Still, Changer knew when to get out of a situation. She pushed off before the thug could get to her and escaped to the top of the tenement nearby.

As the snow began to fall, Changer began to make a snowball. When it was finished, her eyes began to glow black. The snow began to reform itself, becoming a ball of energy. She whistled to the thug, who was now trying to jump on to the fire escape to continue his job. He looked up, and she threw.

The result was altogether spectacular. He hadn’t thought of something like this happening, and she had a decent degree of skill when she side-armed the glowing orb at him. “Let that be a lesson to you.” She called down, and kicked off again, flying back to her apartment where she could extol the virtues of central heating, a huge sound system, and a new gadget to design before passing out.

The moment she got home, the first thing she did was rush to the bathroom. She had gotten into the habit of keeping a first-aid kit in there, in case someone actually got off a lucky shot at her. Sure enough, there it was on the shelf above the toilet. Keeping one hand on the cut, she found some gauze to slow the bleeding. With her free hand, she stripped off the cowl and put it in its place behind the false wall in her closet. When the bleeding had slowed, she carefully undressed and put the suit back in its place, closing and securing the wall.

Moments later, Alex was sitting at her computer as lines of code scrolled across the screen. She had to figure out what ProtoDyne was doing, and the only way to do that other than just going back in was to hack it. Luckily, she had left herself a backdoor into the system, which allowed her to get everything she needed in terms of specs for their devices.

“Come on…”she muttered, watching the lines of code. Finally, they stopped and a corporate logo appeared. She was in. She immediately navigated to the central database, where the specs of the gun someone had tried to fire at her began scrolling down the screen. “GODALMING-MARTIN FORCE BEAM” read the top line. Alex scrolled down until the words “FIELD TESTING” appeared. She read the information out loud, scarcely able to believe it.

“Certain interlopers have begun to irritate central management. Force Beam v 2.2 was given to tester selected from a group of applicants. Applicant was then to terminate selected interlopers. Termination for ‘Changer’ (alias currently unknown) was to occur during the month of January. Status unconfirmed.”

“Status unconfirmed?! What the…” she typed in more commands. Her company was starting to test their weapons on heroes? It didn’t make sense. Before, they hadn’t been doing anything even marginally illegal. At least, nothing she knew about. Still, they had just crossed a very dangerous line, and she was going to make sure they didn’t cross it again. But, for the moment, she should rest. As far as she knew, she wasn’t getting any sleep the next couple of nights.

"The Coming Age" (Nov 29, 2003 to Jan 6, 2010)

Logan's picture

Twilight of an Era
April 17th, 2008
Roughly 1 hour before the destruction of Crystal City

Reintroducing James Marsden as FenrisX and George Stults as Apollo

“What’s wrong big boy, can’t handle a little girl like me?”

Shakti cackled as she let loose another burst of energy from her ionic canon. With a thundering boom!, the green glob of power exploded onto Apollo’s already injured body, propelling the young hero backwards several meters into a row of hard, plastic stadium chairs.

Stalking forwards, the alien smirked “This is pathetic. How could M.E.T.A Force ever hope to have stopped me when you are all so weak!”


The engine roared like the lightening overhead as Fenris sped down the dimly lit streets of Crystal City. Tonight was not like other cases. He was not out to stop some druglord, or arrest some lowly meta crime kingpin, nothing as simple as that. On this rainy night he raced to save the fate of a city, he raced to save the lives of hundreds of thousands.

To the horror of the M.E.T.A Force team, as well as the government and people of America, the Bakarrans and the Concordat’s everlasting battle had made its way to this galaxy, and the prior of the two did not hesitate in quickly targeting mother Earth. Kinetic missiles were launched, targeting several American destination, more notably among them Crystal City where the M.E.T.A Headquarters was located. The team worked quickly with the government to evacuate the city and try and locate the mysterious beacon the missiles were being drawn to. Although the first task was easier said then done, thanks to Prototype’s technical savvy, they managed to pinpoint the homing signal to the city center…or rather Crystal City Stadium!

As he pulled back on the throttle even more, the crimson avenger thought back briefly to the argument he had with the team right before he left. They had all wanted to go destroy the beacon, but as the leader of M.E.T.A Force, he pulled rank and ordered everyone out of the city with the civilians. The bombs had already made it into Earth’s orbit, and given the time constraints the chances of pulling this off were slim to none. It was practically a suicide mission, and he was not ready to see one of his teammates take the risk.

“Except hot blooded Apollo,” he cursed outloud at the stadium came into view. The ex villain turned hero wouldn’t take no for an answer and had rushed off to the stadium alone. *I should have stopped him, but that impulsive flyboy is so damn fast and strong!*
“If we get through this, the kid is going to get it….ohhh he’s going to get it!”


Apollo struggled to push himself up from the floor, but the pain racking his body was just so intense. *Maybe I should have listened to Fenris*

Before he could fully manage to get on his hands and knees, Shakti was on him, her powerful arms lifting Apollo’s considerably larger frame from the ground. Holding him upright before her, she began energizing her canon once more.

“At this range, I’m sure this will hurt a hell of a lot more. Shall we find out,” she hissed preparing the pull the trigger.

“I’d rather not,” Apollo retorted coldly before making a surprising counter attack. Beams of searing white light jetted from his hands, burning through the ionic canon leaving the weapon rather useless. “Shouldn’t leave your toys out in the sun Shakti!” Before she could react, the man’s big fist slammed against her face. This time it was the villain’s turn to fly backwards.

“Well you’re strong ill give you that,” Shakti hissed, shrugging off the blow as she rose to her feet.

“Strong enough to deal with you!” Without another word Apollo flew towards his enemy like a speeding bullet.

“You wish,” she whispered under her breath before hurling another one of her maniacal devices at the speeding hero. With a brilliant flash the technological terror had worked its magic on Apollo, attaching to his suit and expelling thousands of watts of electricity into the young buck. Like a fly that had just been stuck by a bug zapper, Apollo fell to the floor motionless save for the slight rising and falling of his massive chest.

“Like I said before, pathetic,” Shakti smiled as she retrieved a second ionic canon that had been strapped to her back. Taking aim, she prepared to put an end to Crystal City’s would be savior. “Your M.E.T.A Force friends should have sent someone stronger than you.”

“Be careful what you wish for,” a new voice called out sternly from another section of the stadium.

Before Shakti could pull the trigger, the canon flew from her hands high into the air and shattered into several pieces. “What the hell!?” She cursed, spinning around to see who and what had happened. Her eyes glared with hatred as they fell on other than the pesky M.E.T.A Force team leader. “FenrisX,” she said with no lack of loathing, “Nice of you to drop by, but you’re kinda interrupting something.”

“Yeah, we heroes can be annoying like that,” he replied with equal sarcasm. “I should have known you would be implicated in this Bakarran nightmare.” The crimson avenger quickly drew his two pistols as he slowly made his way closer to the alien. “Now if you will just tell me where the beacon is, we can get this over with.”

“You’re looking at her!” Shakti said with a laugh. “The missiles are honed onto my life force signal, little good that info does you though, since I’m about to rip your heart straight out of your chest!” She wasted no time drawing her own pistols and opening fire. Within seconds, the stadium was lit up with tiny little bolts of plasma as the two combatants squared off like in an old western shoot out.

Finally, the alien thought she got the upper hand when she launched a magnetic bomb which managed to pull Fenris’ guns from his grip, but it was short lived since he quickly used his telekinesis to return the favour.

“You got no more gadgets Shakti, give it up!”

The last word had barely made it from his mouth when the cybernetic alien leapt inhumanly far landing beside him. “Baby, I don’t need toys anymore, now that I got myself a real man to dance with.”

Eric’s guard went up, but Shakti’s blows were just so strong it crashed threw his defense, clocking him square on the jaw. Stars began to twinkle in his eyes as Eric tried to regain his composure before she could strike again. He wasn’t quick enough. Shakti’s foot flew upwards catching him in the stomach sending him stumbling into a concrete pillar.

*Fuck, I have to end this soon, time is running out!*

Dodging a third blow, Eric bought himself some time escaping down into the football field with a spectacular back-flip (aided only ‘alittle’ by his powers). He couldn’t help but notice how the setting resembled some form of modern day gladiator pit, a fitting place for this battle.

She soon followed behind making her way into the field after her prey. “You’re going to die here FenrisX, you cant stop the inevitable!”

“Maybe not, but I can damn well try!” he bellowed as he charged forwards. The two clashed in an amazing display of hand to hand combat, Fenris with his superior skills, Shakti with her far greater strength. The battle raged on until the femme fatal finally managed to capture Eric in a tight bear hug. “Ill snap you like a twig!”

Eric cried out in pain as the pressure on his back and ribs increased; given the chance, she would make good on her promise. In a move of desperation, Eric opened his mind to hers, using a psychic attack to free himself. The gamble worked but it was not without it consequences. The nano-technology fused in her body warped her mind, making the assault backlash against him. With another roar of anguish he fell backwards holding his temples, giving Shakti a chance to recover from the attack and manage to retrieve one of her fallen pistols.

“Don’t you get it Fenris? My technologically upgraded body makes me a living god! And now I’m going to finish you and then ill tear the head right off of flyboy over there and make my getaway before the bombs blow this city into oblivion!

While she spewed her lame villain speech, Eric had wasted no time looking for something to help him and it was not long before his keen eyes quickly fell on the large metal catwalks high above them. *Perfect*

Ragnarok is upon you Fenris; this is your end!” she said taking aim.

“You may be a god Shakti, but you forgot something very import.”

“And what is that?” she demanded, her curiosity taking over before she pulled the trigger.

Eric smiled as he felt the catwalk break free above them. “At Ragnarok, the Fenris wolf eats the gods.”

The girl didn’t have time to process the comment before the huge metallic walkway plummeted downwards crushing Shakti instantly beneath its enormous weight.

Not getting up just yet, Eric reached into his pocket and retrieved a small black timer.


He had managed to kill Shakti thereby destroying the beacon, but it was too late, the missiles were too far in by now. He had failed…In a few minutes Crystal City would be decimated.

“Apollo! Apollo! We gotta get out of here pronto!” he screamed, running back to his young friend as fast as he could.


The kid was still out cold and he gave no sign of coming-to anytime soon.

In situations like this, Fenris usually worked fast to think of ways to rectify the danger at hand, and in the past it always seemed to work, but as it was mentioned, tonight was not just ‘another night,’ tonight truly was his Ragnarok.

“Well it’s been a good ride eh buddy,” he said to Apollo knowing his words fell on deaf ears.

Eric truly had come along way from where he started from so many years ago. In his last moments he thought back to Valhalla, his fellow agents the only family he had ever known. To Jenna the first girl he had ever loved and her tragic death. He thought about his new team mates and all those he had met over the years those who grew to be his closest friends. Finally he thought of Sydney the women he loved now. He couldn’t help but smile…theirs’ was a funny kind of relationship, the on-again-off-again, love-hate, never quite got it right kind of love, and looking back, he wouldn’t have had it any other way. He definitely would miss her most. *Goodbye Sydney*

Overhead, he could hear the loud roar of the missiles getting close; in a matter of seconds it would be over. Turning to Apollo’s comatose body, Eric’s face saddened. Apollo had such life to him, and ever since his reformation, he had become such a force for good. “You’re far too young to die here,” Eric sighed, wondering if what he was planning was even possible. *He’s so strong, it just might work…..and if it does, Mel better give you a good thrashing kid*

Sparing a quick glance to the roof where the missile would come crashing threw in less than a minute, Eric took one final deep breath as he took a protective stance over the fallen hero. Raising his hands to the sky, he began to concentrate. More and more he pushed the psychic power through his body, using his hands to direct the energy. The thundering sound was almost deafening now as the missiles were about to hit. Still Eric remained unwavering working his powers like never before. His body shuttered under the sheer telekinetic power than it was expelling as he forced it into a protective dome over himself and Apollo. Blood began to drip from his nose, ears and eyes as his very brain began to rip apart from the strain…and then it was over.

In a brilliant explosion of blinding light, Crystal City was no more.

Alittle over an hour later

A large form began to stir from beneath the rubble, as Apollo began to wake. *Wha…what happened? He questioned through the fog in his mind as he tried to make sense of the scene around him.

“Oh no..” he said weakly the truth of the matter dawning on him. The missiles hit their target, it was over.

Still, one thing remained unclear: how come he wasn’t incinerated in the blast (and why handn’t Shakti killed him for that matter?)

He had only stumbled around for a minute before he found his answer. “Eric,” he mumbled weakly, as he fell beside the body of his friend and leader. It was cold, Fenris was dead.

Tears began to roll down Apollo’s face and soon he was weeping uncontrollably. He may be a big strong hero, but deep down Apollo was very soft and sensitive and couldn’t hold back from sobbing. He cradled Fenris’ body into his powerful arms, and hoisted him from the rubble. After taking one last look at the destruction, Apollo’s feet lifted from the ground as he took flight.

Apollo was still crying when he arrived at the agreed upon location. He could see his fellow M.E.T.A members far below…they were pointing upwards, shocked that he had survived the blast. Trying his best to put on a brave face, Apollo slowly lowered himself and the fallen crimson avenger to the ground.

Sydney was the first to step towards Eric’s lifeless body, falling to her knees by his side. Apollo slowly backed away, allowing her some time alone, although his eyes never once deviated from the still form of his friend.

“Eric,” murmured Sydney quietly, brushing back a stray lock of hair from his forehead with trembling fingers. Dried blood had congealed about his nostrils and eyelids and Sydney wiped at it with the sleeve of her t-shirt, slow, silent tears rolling down her cheeks and dripping from the end of her chin to splash upon Eric’s cold face.

Her lips quivered as she leaned low to plant a kiss upon his mouth. She wanted him to feel warm, for their to be lingering breath upon his lips, but she was met with nothing more than death. Sydney could feel the eyes of the other members of M.E.T.A upon her but she didn’t care anymore. For years she had kept her feelings for Eric contained, never once letting him know how he made her feel, never letting him get too close… But he had gotten close, close enough to break through her tough exterior to the woman beneath.

“How could you leave me?” she whispered softly, stroking the cadaverous hollow of Eric’s cheek with her fingertips. “How could you go without saying goodbye? Without giving me the chance to say…”

She quickly wiped her eyes dry. “Eric,” she whispered again, so quiet that she could hardly be heard. Sydney leaned low to kiss Eric one last time, her lips lingering against his. “I’ll never forget you.”

Donny disengaged the clamps and stepped out of the Proto IV battlesuit. He ran his palm over the fallen hero and watched as the readout on the back of his wrist verified his worst fears. "He's dead. And not just kinda dead like Ela is going to bring him back either. I don't think even she could save him. His internal organs have been-"

"We know, Donny, you don't need to spell it out for us," came H.A.T.E.'s voice from behind him. As she leaned closer she remarked, "There is something inherently lifeless about a dead Human. There is definitely something different about them. My sensors just can't seem to quantify it."

"Of course there's something different!" Donny shouted, making people jump, "He's fucking dead! What is the matter with you people? He can't be dead he's one of the good guys! He's a hero! We won! But now he's dead. And that doesn't make sense."

Donny's sobs made everyone there uncomfortable. Only H.A.T.E., Donny's android assassin sidekick, seemed content to stand there looking - not unconcerned - but accepting of his emotional outburst.

Ela had squirmed through to Eric’s still form and knelt beside it. It wasn’t that she didn’t trust Donny’s equipment, but she just had to be sure. If there were even the tiniest spark of life left she could nurture it, slowly bring it back to full bloom… but there was nothing. Nothing but cold, lifeless flesh, long past her help.

She looked up at Donny, her eyes holding a look far older than her 23 years. “Even the good guys die, Donny,” she said quietly. “Even Eric can die.”

The pale blue glow of Mel’s aura swept over Erics body as she descended from her own battle. The others drew back a little and mel, her eyes wet with tears crouched down . “Oh Eric…bright brave Eric.” A hand ran through his hair straigntened it slightly. “You stood forth when I would not…” she whispered Mel dashed away her tears and stood “Led when I could not…”

*We won’t forget you…*

"Heroes rise from the masses, they are not mortal or of this earth. Heroes are angels sent to us that simply occupy a human body. Their purpose is to remind us of all that can be achieved with the right attitude, determination and passion." --- Francine W.

Events in the life of a science-heroine (continued)

TwistedStranger's picture

Time: January '05. One week since last heading. Morning.

She needed a vacation. Both parts of her needed a vacation. Bubba the hero slayer was still at large, looking for someone to target whenever he could. His aim was steadily improving. She’d had to stop going into the area he frequented, which meant that crime was reaching an all-time high in the lowest-income portion of the city. Force was probably going to start threatening something…again, and she didn’t have the time to deal with his ultimately petulant and unworthy presence. She wished he’d look in a mirror, just once, so he’d be reduced to whatever it was biomass converted to after it had been pulverized into nonexistence and she could spend more time inventing things and listening to Mars Volta. Maybe she’d be able to actually watch TV, instead of having to DVR everything. And to top it all off, here she was on her umpteenth game of DOOM instead of working on the heating unit she so desperately needed. As usual, the cyber-demons in the tower turned her commando’s body into a mass of bloody chunks of flesh, putting her back at the start of the level.
She signed off the computer and went over to the kitchen table, where the unit schematics she needed were kept. She was having problems with making it lightweight and easy enough to put into Changer’s suit, which was a huge handicap. She could always spend her winters in Los Angeles, but the change-of-address paperwork and the lack of income from her twice a month lectures weren’t worth it. The problem with using circuitry to heat her gear was that a hard enough hit would disable it, leaving her at a major disadvantage. It might also overheat. That would suck mightily, as Gan had once said. She went through the file cabinet she kept in the “Conception” room of her apartment. All she had in terms of the plans was a note:

If you’re looking at this, that means you forgot about your lecture today. Smooth move, Ex-lax.
- G

She crumpled the note into a ball and flung it. It struck the portrait of the Face-hugger from Alien and dropped into the wastebasket. “What lecture?” she asked aloud. Her next lecture wasn’t for another two weeks. Had she overlooked something? She rummaged through for the plans again. As she looked down, another piece if paper caught her eye.

The one you’re supposed to give about teleportation technology. The BIG one. Notes for it are on your desk; right under the plans for the clean room you were going to build after you fooled around with space dimensions. You haven’t done that yet, and you’ve been marking it as “theoretical”, but I’d like to see you try. Oh, just by the by, someone’s gonna be at the lecture. Someone important. Make yourself presentable right this bleeping second, woman!

She rolled her eyes. The notes for the portal-tech lecture were exactly where he said they’d be, and that was no surprise, but there was still the problem of making herself presentable. The lecture was happening soon, by the sound of things. She checked the notes. One-thirty, she was supposed to be talking. It was already eleven, which most likely gave her two hours, not counting the taxi ride to the Banquet Hall. Furthermore, what if some villain like Bubba or Force attacked? She couldn’t risk lugging her suit around; it was too dangerous and too heavy. Then she got an idea. She kicked her way out of her jeans, threw her T-shirt in the corner, and quickly suited up. After that, she focused on her armor and changed.

It’s an odd sensation, having a full-body combat suit flowing up and down your body and changing into a tight black dress and heels, she thought to herself as she finished the transformation. She shoved the cowl into a pocket of her Russian infantry coat before throwing it over her shoulders, tucking her notes under her arm, mashing the button of the built-in apartment elevator all the way to the bottom floor, and spilling out into the lobby. Getting a taxi was a slightly harder thing to do. She made a habit of passing on the first two taxis (never know who’s really driving one of those, after all…) and taking the third. Today, there wasn’t enough time. So she got into a cab with an underage driver who made a habit of blasting Keasbey Nights through his speakers and hit every pothole he could find, all without his suspension and shock absorbers working. To make matters worse, he was yelling the words to an entirely different song, his only explanation being “It’s not the music in my head. I’m singing along with the music in my head.” Alex dashed out of the cab the moment it pulled up at the Hall, barreled through the doors, and got there with half an hour before she went on.

It was a high-class affair. Just about anyone who was anyone had come to hear her speak about something she forgot until the last minute. She looked around the room. Delta-Net occupied several tables in the left side of the room (they were hosting the lecture, so it was obligatory that they be there); some people she didn’t recognize all throughout the room, and Arthur Bain and the rest of the Board at ProtoDyne took up the back section…there were pluses and minuses to this arrangement. For one, the young guy over by the Delta-Net stiffs…he warranted some thought. The huge minus was, with ProtoDyne’s board of directors and various sycophants watching, Bubba couldn’t be far behind. Not that she had anything to fear from—

“You! Where the hell have you been?” It was her dear, dear friend from the university’s College of Applied Science, Dean Morgan. “I’ve had to stall for the past ten minutes!” She’d forgotten what time the lecture was, evidently. There had to be some way out of this.

“I’m sorry. I got held up. Really nasty cab ride.” Alex said. She was always nice to people with more power than she…unless, of course, they met her when she wasn’t Alexis Martin. Morgan did a good job of introducing her, listing her credentials, and even using the title “doctor”, which he didn’t usually see fit to address her as. She did him proud by walking up to the dais as if she were more important than anyone else in the room, and launching into the lecture.

“Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.” She began, making sure that she kept her emotions and facial features firmly in check, “Of late, many companies have began to research”, yes, that was much better than ‘dick around with in fits of stupidity’, “teleportation technology, mostly by opening portals located at two different points. The theory here is that there will be instantaneous transit between the two points via a ‘tunnel’, or alternately, that human genetic code can be used to ‘email’ a person’s exact information and brainwave patterns to another place by use of a single large computer.” She had covered the neutral portion, now for why she was really here.

She took a quick glance at her notes (not that she needed them, but after all, tirades were for idiots) and continued into her stand on such technology, “However, as I tell my students, don’t believe in the impossible, because the results will be continually disappointing.” This sent a current of outraged whisper through the room. Alex let a small smirk lift the corners of her mouth. “Now, I’m not saying that this is a foolish and fruitless study, but considering the risks involved, there won’t be any major advances in portal technology for many years.” She launched into techno-babble about how the human brainwaves can’t be mapped in any way that would successfully translate the human conscious or sub conscious, touching on the subjects of “uninvited guests” and even got off a full two and a half minutes on references to the movie H.P. Lovecraft’s From Beyond.

Then came the question-and answer period. ProtoDyne wanted to know how she knew about such projects, and if there were any in the future, to which she simply responded, “I have my sources. I’m not omniscient; believe me. Just because I have the title of ‘doctor’ doesn’t mean I’m god. ” This achieved the desired response. One of her students asked her if she had seen From Beyond, and she brushed him aside with a noncommittal answer. Finally, the moment she was dreading happened. A man with dark glasses stood up in the back of the room and asked her, “Doctor Martin, if you could choose your last words, what would they be?” This was Force’s way of being subtle. Alex knew better than to take this, but she did anyway. “Um…” she started, “How about ‘Last words are for people who’re going to die’? Does that answer your question?” Force grinned and whipped off his glasses, his voice taking its usual tone of high-pitched freakishness. “Of course it does!” he yelled, his mechanical eye sockets focusing on her, “Whyever else would you have picked them if they weren’t your last?”

Alex was in a tight spot. She couldn’t change her clothes back into the suit with everyone watching. There was too much at stake for her to give herself away. On the other hand, the prospect of a quick, blinding death wasn’t exactly a better option. Either way, she couldn’t stay on the dais. Her stress levels would probably activate her powers and have her change now, instead of when she actually wanted to. Luckily, she didn’t have to. Force wasn’t as good a shot as he usually was, and it cost him by bringing a chandelier down on some recently unoccupied tables. In the confusion, Alex reached down, pulled the cowl over her head, and concentrated, feeling her clothes wrap around her body and flow into the familiar shape of her costume.

Changer erupted from the chaos, hovering above the frightened guests and various security guards who were attempting to stay the hell out of Force’s way. “’Member me?” she asked the psychotic playfully, “You know how I love these little chance encounters. Sometime we must meet up and have lunch or dinner.” He responded by howling in rage and sending a force-beam straight at her. She was knocked back, but times like this were why she used the prototype combat suit. She ran her fingers over her back, a familiar gesture coupled with praying that the battle would take less than an hour and a half.

Her eyes were glowing constantly by the time she kicked off the ground, grabbed a table leg, and turned it into a large metal spear. She held it out as she shot forward, and narrowly missed her target. It jarred her upon impact, but she shook it off and slammed Force in the gut. He could no longer close his eyes (burned off his eyelids), and the amount of pain activated his beams, taking off some of his toes and burning a hole in the floor. He grabbed her and held her head in his hands as she struggled to get him off of her. “First you, and then your friend. I will finally be able to do what I want in peace and quiet. I will be avenged.” He frowned as her eyes began to glow black. Slowly, from the legs up, he was becoming something…small and furry. Only his hands and head remained the same. Changer couldn’t risk a complete transformation while he was still holding on to her. However, she’d futzed around with his body mass and center of gravity, allowing her to throw him bodily across the room, where he lay, unconscious.

Changer converted a square of the floor into an empty space and floated down to the floor below, where she quickly converted herself back to Alex and hid the cowl against her stomach before using one last bit of energy to move herself so she was underneath the collapsed tables. When they were finally cleared away, (leaving everyone distracted enough so Force slipped away once again) she collected herself. The son of Delta-Net’s head…she’d heard his name in connection with something before…some organization of heroes in Vega. She wrote a message about the ProtoDyne files on her napkin along with a net address, dropped it in his lap, and walked out. Now all she could do was wait.

Facebook Share