Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Ice Berg....Over Therish

Last week Sarah had to deal with a very large forest fire north of the city.

This week: A flood in the south of the city.

Well life was never boring in the city.

Sarah was standing on the Santa Ana River in Fullerton. looking on in concern.

The irony was that it wasn't really raining. It was very cloudy, and maybe you could describe it as a light drizzle, but for someone who grew up in an area where in rained about 200 days of the year, in some capacity this was nothing.

However, tell that to the water.

Los Angeles could be construed as a series of valleys built into a couple of smallish mountain ranges.  Like say the grand canyon what created it were rivers – less dramatic but with a similar number of tourists. These rivers varied from a trickle to nothing at all most of the year but now, well...

Sarah would guess it was maybe 3/4 of the way to top of cement creak bed.

The answer how it got there was, you know, upstream - there was a big downfall on the other side of the Santa Ana Mountains, and water has to go somewhere you big dummy. Now she had to deal with it.

And not a lot of ideas how.

Sarah was incredibly strong. Stronger pound per pound then pretty much anything in the world. If all the river was a sold mass she could lift it up, and... well, she couldn't throw it into the sun, that would be a little much, but strength was useful.

Water, as had been observed, had a tendency to be hard to pick up with your hands. It was something to do with a state of matter called "liquid".

She could get a large container (say a tractor-trailer) and start bailing, but well, that would take a lot of time.

She could build a temporary dam to block the water but that wouldn't really deal with the problem.

She could use heat vision to turn all of it into steam, but well...she didn't have heat vision.

She sighed.

It was rather beautiful, actually...the river that is. Disasters often were.

A fireman came up and put his hand on her shoulder. Funny how it was a fireman who did it, but well....

"How can I help?” Sarah asked.

"We’re checking to see how it holds...so far so good. However, it’s still raining behind the dam, and the dam is at 90 percent capacity.”

“Can I increase the capacity somehow?”

"What are you talking about?" asked the fireman.

"Rocks or something." said Sarah.

There was a pause

"On top."

Sarah paused.

"It was a thought balloon. There is no critiquing in a thought balloon."

The fireman shook his head. "It’s not really a good spot for it, I mean you could concrete an extra 1000 feet but just rocks would probably fall down and…”

"No critiquing a thought balloon."

Just then Sarah saw a cow. It was struggling as it was swept down the river, trying to keep its head above water, struggling to swim to...it flew down the river 30 miles an hour

Sarah jumped off the edge of the bridge.

She needed an excuse to end the conversation anyway.

Less then a second later she hit the water.

And she was in.

‘Mazing Girl couldn't actually fly like Superman...except in water.

She could hold her breath for half an hour, stand pressures that would damage a submarine, and swim....well she could swim like a dolphin, pushing through the weightless world with incredible speed and skill.  She felt so powerfully free.

She loved swimming, actually. It was a joke in comics about superheroines wearing bathing suits. Increasingly of the kind of thong thing that you wouldn't actually wear swimming. ‘Mazing Girl suit wasn't quite, being more of a 'jumper', but sometimes she wished she did.  But ahh, super swimming wasn't all that useful considering that most people lived outside for the water.

Take that, Aquaman.

But now something was living in the water: Namely a cow. She swam downstream with it, rushing through the water faster then a boat.

How did a cow get into the river in Southern California? Ahh you find weird things in LA.

But as she approached the cow the solution was tricky. It was struggling a lot and while she couldn't be hurt, a scared cow could hurt itself a lot by attempting to hurt her. She had taken a class in lifesaving where that had come up a bit.

This would be delicate.

She breathed in, went to the bottom of the river and pushed her legs against it trying to time it to pick up the back of the cow and fly out the river. It would take expert timing incredible speed as everything was moving. Everything.

Timing she messed up.

She flew out of the river sans cow and landed on the bank. Fuck. She hoped no one was watching.

Sarah ran down the river, jumped in, grabbed the back of the cow and after a quick swim climbed out on the other bank - all in about five seconds. She ran up the side of the bank to a small street and let it go, running away so it wouldn't spook or something, if that was the word.

Okay.

Cow fixed.

Still a river to deal with...

"Hark," said a voice.

She turned to see Blizzard, the orc-mask-wearing superhero with...ice shooting guns...attached to his costume. Somehow it made sense. Not to her. To Sarah it was completely nuts, but she was certain that abstractly, to someone at least, it made sense.

"I have an idea," declared Blizzard. "But I am going to need your help, ranger."

Sarah nodded. Well, why not? It should be noted that Sarah and he had never done the Marvel Comics ‘hey we’re superheroes! Let’s have a 10-page fight before helping each other and end it inconclusively’ thing. Sarah thought about it occasionally, especially now for some reason, she was breathing in heavily and dripping wet; he was acting superior and calling her 'ranger'. But well, fuck it. Let’s just do this.

"So what’s your plan?”

He had with him a small phial. His voice changed to slightly more nebbish.

"This chemical is a super Freon...I use it in my wrist blasters...introduce it to water: it freezes. Instant ice-cold.”

There was a rather large puddle on the ground, he emptied the phial into it. With in a second the sizable puddle had turned to ice.

"Are there industrial applications for this technology?" ‘Mazing Girl asked.

"Not a lot really," Blizzard told her. "Why do you ask?"

"Just whenever I see stuff like that..."

Blizzard shook his head, which was tricky as he wore an orc mask that didn't allow a lot of movement "If you have enough money there’s plenty of stuff you can do to be a superhero."

"But ice has a lot of uses."

He shook the phial. "This costs maybe 50 bucks to make. You do use ice but there cheaper methods to make it, but slower. I mean, the idea of this chemical has been around for 40 years but you never see it outside of old Mr. Wizard shows."

"So..." said Sarah


"we’re going to dump it in the river...I have a truck full of it, you pick it up and throw it into the flood.”

Sarah nodded. Then paused.

"Is this stuff safe?"

"You wouldn't want to drink it."

Sarah nodded. Then thought again.

"How big an ice cube are we talking here?”

"20 tons."

Sarah considered "I am strong, and could do it...but ice is slippery and kind of hard to aim perfectly. I may hit, like, Long Beach. And I don't want to hit things with this. If we just leave it in the river we create glaciers”


She paused.

"Actually, it’s a pretty stupid plan.”


"Well at least I’m thinking," said Blizzard. "And there’s no critiquing."

Sarah considered.

"Okay. I’ve got an idea. Where’s your truck? I need to take it somewhere."

Sarah smiled. She always loved flying while holding giant trucks overhead. It was just so cool looking.

*******

Sarah rushed, carrying a giant tanker truck, Blizzard, and a driver who was getting paid 30 dollars an hour, over her head. Jumping and running 50 miles an hour over the cityscape, half a mile at a time mainly going on surfaced streets to avoid hitting stuff with the 50 foot long truck.


As she went the river got higher and higher, more and more full, and towards the north of Orange County they encountered actual rain.

Then half an hour later as they reached the edge of the city they found what she was looking for the. The Prado Dam.

It was big.

LA was a city built on rivers, but one didn't see the massive dams that made them. Sarah had seen Hoover Dam once, which was a big tourist attraction. This wasn't quite as big...but standing at the bottom of it looked huge. Massive compared to this shortish woman.

Even with a truck over her head.

Oh yeah, she had super strength. That was cool.

She jumped the 200 feet up holding the truck in her hand.

She landed on top of the dam and put the truck down.

"Okay...can we do 50 dollars an hour?" asked the driver. "I didn't sign up for this.”

Blizzard sighed. "Doing superhero work is supposed to be fun."

"Fun for you” the driver noted.

"This had better be a good plan" said Blizzard.

"What I want you to do is pour the contents into the lake.”

Blizzard looked at the

"You’ll just make an iceberg."

"Well, do you see the Titanic here?" asked Sarah. "The water will rise, push it up. It will relieve pressure on the flood gates and they can slow the river. The berg will float to the top and should melt over a couple of months. Enough time to empty the lake.”

"Hey! You can pick it up and toss it into the mountains!" said Blizzard. "Now that’s rad thinking."

"Actually, I don't think I need to do that," said Sarah. "Ice floats to the top and no matter how big.”

"But it’s massive," said Blizzard.

Sarah sighed. "I don't have to use my super strength to do everything.”

Blizzard sighed.

"We should have enough chemical here to freeze half the lake or so, however it would be easier if was moving.”

"Well, it’s a dam its moving out we don't want to get it in the spigot at the bottom.”

"I mean the truck...maybe you can take the truck and empty it out over the lake.”

"You know you rented it," protested the driver. "It costs like 200,000 bucks."

"It won't be hurt." Sarah nodded. Actually, she didn't know that for sure but she wanted to shut the guy up. He was a bit of an asshole.

Blizzard nodded. The lake was rising in a visible manner. He turned the spigot.

"Just keep the chemical moving across the lake...do a circle or something around the edge- as fast as you can. Try not to get hit.”

And the chemical started pouring in.

And the instant it did ice started forming. A giant ice berg out of some winter wonderland.

Well, it was December.

Sarah grabbed the truck, and keeping the spigot over the lake slowly walked along the edge - the ice started moving outward across the top of it, moving downward as well. It started to rise a bit out of the water as it did...like, well, an ice cube.

It was blue ice, gorgeously blue. An alluring translucence to it that flittered a bit in the light. She suspected this would be a tourist attraction. Well great. this was an industrial application of the chemical. She smiled and paused a second, not walking too fast as she did - to admire the show as it went out across the lake.

And then Sarah noticed, on the other edge of the lake, a guy was swimming.

This wasn't as stupid as you might think. Well, okay it was stupid. But people did a lot of stupid things. This may fall into the catch all extreme sports. He probably bungie jumped in. The lake was rising, but relatively calm. There weren’t any lifeguards or anything, but really how often do you get to swim in a lake in So Cal?

A lake that was rapidly turning entirely to ice - with him in it.

Sarah paused to consider. A dark part of her job was that people sometimes died. He would if the ice hit him. And there were times life and death were her choice, when saving people meant letting others die. She had watched men women and children die...when...theoretically...

But this was not such a time.

She put the truck down, yeah on its side, and jumped onto the rapidly expanding ice. She guessed she had maybe 10 seconds to get to him, running across, as she hit the edge of the ice sheeting, preparing to jump...

...the ice broke under her weight.

Oh. Yeah. Ice did that.

She plunged into the rapidly cooling water.

And she panicked.

Just a little. But panic was getting to her. Ice was starting to form around her body trapping her...entombing her...

Sarah screamed into the water...just screamed, consequently filling her lungs with cold water.

When she realized...

Oh yeah. ‘Mazing Girl had super strength.

With a mighty heave she merely broke the ice around her creating a shock wave that almost destroyed the ice burg, and crating a wave in the lake all around her...ice shattered and flew around everywhere.

And she started to swim towards the man, moving through the water like a porpoise, swimming almost fast enough to turn the water to plasma.

The ice had reached him and he was starting to panic at the surface, half covered in...

when she broke off the chunk and grabbed him, then swimming directly across towards the edge of the lake.

Climbing out, Sarah put him on the ground.

"Are you okay?" she inquired.

She looked at him. He was looking back. He wasn't drowned or unconscious just...very, very startled over the last 25 or so seconds.

"Are you okay?" she asked again.

"Oh yeaH" he said. "Just that...what happened...”

And then she looked down.

He was nude.

Either his had started this way, or events had done something to his trunks.

But that was okay...

Though she turned away.

And looked at the lake.

She saw that the chemical had gone back to draining in one spot.

And there was a very clear wave of ice that extended to the lip of the lake, a frozen wave 20 feet tall.

Now that was cool.

She reached into the back of her costume and pulled out the special iphone she used to contact the police. This was worth a picture.

Then, as she pulled it out, she realized that all the swimming and water...well it was ruined.

That was okay. It had had water damage on the insurance plan.

She wasn't an idiot, if you were going to get insurance for your phone you ask for that. That’s how they get you. 


"That was EPIC" Said blizzard. Sarah could hear him clearly, though he was about a mile away.

E: A voice behind broke her train of thought: “What happened to my pant?”