Tuesday, April 1, 2014
It was around 1:00am when Sarah's eyes opened. Something was happening.
She was sleeping with Lana, also known as the superhero the Flame. This itself wasn't unusual, they had done this quite a bit in the last two months.
No. What was important they hadn't had sex first.
It was Wednesday, and she had come over after working on the days shoot, with bluerays of the first three star war movies, the new ones...well, you know what i am talking about: Episodes 1-3. Lana had never seen them before. They watched the first two. She had, of course, seen the original movies...she wasn't that strange. But not the next three Lucas made in the nineties.
They ended up watching the Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. Both were actually a lot better then she had remembered they were supposed to be. Both had a couple of fun action sequences, even if some of the performances were pretty stiff. Yoda with a lightsaber made her clap her hands. Lana had made them a light dinner (for someone who claimed to want to gain weight she didn't eat that much). It was fun. As they watched them with her she seemed to enjoy it to a degree, effecting in her weird semi-emotionless, hard-to-read kind of way that this was passable entertainment. Lana, whose taste tended more toward theatre, classical music, and the legitimate arts, didn't talk them down. She sat and watched...well, like a girlfriend who was sitting with their partner and trying to like what they like.
Girlfriend: After about three months, yeah...that was increasingly the word.
And so she slept over. They had kissed before going to bed a bit and she was snuggling into her a bit, but she was still wearing her work clothes at 12:35. Tommorow she had set her clock to wake her at 7am for a 8am shoot at the studio...and yeah, she was a girlfirend coming to her SO house tonight not to have sex.
Not having sex was an important step. Her first boyfriend and her did it a couple of times before actually having sex when she was a teenager - but after that..well. Here she was. Only with Jim (who stayed with her a couple of weeks between roommates on a trial basis that never lasted more than a trial) had she ever done this with before.
It wasn't bad. Lana had a nice big bed, in an impeccably kept house. Lana was a small thing and didn't take up much of the space or the covers. And while she had the personality of a cold fish, her body was actually quite warm, in a snuggable way.
Fuck. She would have to go to work tomorrow wearing the same clothes she came into after not fucking.
Maybe it was time to ask for a drawer.
Sarah sighed. It would be impossible to walk out of the room now. And should she?
That's when it went off in her mind. The feeling...the sense. Something was wrong.
Something was incredibly wrong.
And not with their relationship.
She shook her head. She would have to deal with this...
"Lana" she said to the woman next to her.She pressed agianst her slightly.
"What is it," she asked sleepily, not quite waking up.
"Trouble. It's...I don't know...but I can sense it. Something big."
Lana woke up opening her eyes with almost inhuman speed. Like her, of course, she was slightly inhuman. Just in a different way. "Any more information?"
Lana got out of bed and went to her closet, pushing aside garments as she did, until she found her gingham dress that was the costume of the Eternal Flame. Part of the performance aspect, she had told Sarah.
"I'm coming with you, of course."
Sarah sighed. She had never gone on patrol with the Eternal Flame before. She didn't like going "On patrol". Sarah and Lana here...well, something. But 'Mazing Girl and the Eternal Flame were not nothing.
Sarah shook her head. How could she stop her? She got out of bed. " Can you drive? It'd feel odd carrying you."
"Doesn't quite work well with my image in any method. Sure."
Sarah undressed in front of her, taking off her work polo shirt her work pants. Flame was doing the same. She had undressed for her lover before. Now she was undressing as if they were going to play soccor or something.
This was important. This was a step. And she didn't know what she was feeling. Lana's advantage, and her downside as a lover, as she could never quite get a read on what she was feeling, good or bad. For a telepath, she had no real idea what she was thinking.
They were taking the Flame's black '48 Packard. Lana drove a Lexus, but you know, well...image. The car was not a stock Packard. It had a much more powerful and quick engine, the tires were modern, and there was surprisingly powerful equipment built into its dashboard but the idea was the same.
They drove down surface streets, Sarah slumped in the seats.
"Do you have any more information?" Lana asked.
"It's big, and it's downtown. Like, around City Hall, I want to say. That area," Sarah told her.
Sarah was never quite sure what it was that guided her. It should be perhaps explained that all of the heroes and villains who had actual power as far as was known were mutants of a kind. Most of them where psychic, some of them were more physical. One in a million or so was like this for genetic reasons no one fully understood. Now, through large portions of human history, one in a million meant one or two in the whole world. They often fell into myth and superstition, or hid it as whatever. It wasn't until the late 19th century that anyone really suspected they existed - it wasn't until the 1920s when proof was gained. Comic book stories were developing and they became creatures of comicbooks. Which was just as well, as circus freak or all powerful tyrant was not a good thing either.
However, Sarah had been blessed underneath her nerdy charm to be have a fair amount of religion. Nerds often did. She had grown up in a fairly religious Tallahassee area family. She had been brought up baptist, and somewhere inside her still believed in God, and that God gave her these gifts, to either use to bless humanity or punish it.
Or, to put it another way: Her family knew about 'Mazing Girl. Her family supported 'Mazing Girl. She hadn't told them about Lana and wasn't sure how to. But if they were sleeping together and not having sex, she probably ought to.
Lana drove on. "Going to turn on the scanners?"
"No need," said Sarah as she looked up.
And there truly was no need, for floating above the downtown skyline was a giant blimp emblazened with metal decals. And huge artillery raining down fire.
The police had setup a roadblock around the downtown area, but when Flame and 'Mazing Girl came they opened the road for them. "He's doing something really big. Shooting some of the buildings. Thankfully, at this time of night, the area is mostly empty. We're scrambling some jets from Mugu, but they'll take awhile. Really glad your here."
"She gave me a lift." 'Mazing Girl nodded to Flame and the 10 police in the command center. That was technically true.
Flame had a look that made it impossible to tell what she was thinking. "So: Deca. Hes finally made his move."
"No demands, or loudspeaker, thankfully," said the captain.
"He wants me," 'Mazing Girl informed them. "Well...that's always the case. It's time we end this."
"But not alone." For a second Sarah thought Flame said it, and would feel a bit of the heart string. But no. Behind her was.... Glider.
He wasn't actually (wearing? using?) his hang-glider. He wore a suit that looked a lot like a World War I pilot uniform. All leather, with dashing cavalry pants and a leather helmet with googles. In a steampunk nightclub worn by a girl who was 20 years younger then the 40-ish paunchy hero it would look dashing. Perhaps when he started out it would look dashing. now he looked a little silly.
"He knows you can get there easily with your jumping powers. But Flame, and the others, are powerless to help. But not me!! For you can run, but you can't glide."
Catchphrase. She needed one. His was catchy, she'll give it that.
"He can fly. You can jump. I'll figure something out," the Flame at last suggested.
"Your just going to let me go up there by myself?" demanded 'Mazing Girl, shocked by her lack of emotion at all of this.
"you're your own hero, 'bnazing. you have skills and talents that i don't. i am not going to smother you," said Flame.
"Oooh," said a police officer, shaking his head.
"Don't 'oooh' me!" said 'Mazing Girl. "The last thing I need, or anyone needs in this situation, is a giant 'oooh' going on. That doesn't help ithe sitution in the slightest most infimestimal"
"are you frightened?" asked Flame.
"Yeah, I'm frightened. This guy has a giant fucking blimp. A giant fucking blimp. I am not joking. Giant fuckin....g blimp.!!!1How do you build something like that?"
Flame put a hand on her shoulder. It was very calm and friendly. "I wish I could take your fear from you, but I can't. nothing to be said.nlimp and all. all I can say is what is obvious. you are the most powerful hero in the city. you're stronger then all the rest of us put together! i have tremendous faith in your powers, and your skills."
Glider nodded. "Give me a minute to get ready. We should try a co-ordinated attack."
Flame looked thoughtful a moment. "i think it's a helium balloon, which means its non-flamable, but i'll try to figure out something, well, useful."
Glider walked away.
"I could just carry you. I have done with Knife Girl a dozen times. "
"i'll find a way."
'Mazing Girl leaned in to whisper. "are you frightened?"
((would it help you for me to say i was?))
'Mazing Girl shook her head. No reading this woman.
'Mazing girl walked away from the police cars. She looked up at the blimp. It was shooting a lot of things. She saw Glider go up.
"Ready to go when you are," he boldly declared, and lowered his goggles into place as she smiled at him slightly.
Then what looked like a rocket hit him, and he exploded.
'Mazing Girl freaked out for a second and screamed, but realised that would do her nor anybody else any good. Instead, she flew up into air with the scream still on her lips.
It was dark inside the blimp. No one was present. She wondered if Deca had brought any thugs or things of that nature with him. For a second it occured to her that a viable strategy might be to wait 'til she got there then detonate it remotely. It would be a smart play if he wanted to kill her, but something about him suggested otherwise.
He wanted to face her.
Then an intercom went off. "WELL, IT TURNED OUT IN THE END THAT HE COULD NEITHER RUN OR GLIDE."
"Can you hear me?" asked Mazing Girl
"I WOULDN'T MISS THIS FOR THE WORLD."
'Mazing Girl shrugged. The logical place for the control would be at the front/underneath of the gondola but realistically it could be anywhere. Even inside the balloon itself. She looked around.
"I HAVE TAKEN THE TIME TO MAKE ROBOT GUARDS. DON'T WORRY...I DO THINK YOU CAN BEAT THEM. BUT THEY MAY...TIRE YOU...A BIT"
He wasn't making this easy. Nonetheless, the Airforce was going to come in at some point and deal with this, so perhaps a viable strategy was to distract him a bit by fighting guards and come for him then.
She saw the guard robots. It would be nice to say they were large metal robots with hands and tin pots for head but they where short squat robots that walked on four legs. With a large gun on top of their body. There were about 20 of them and they all shot her at once.
That hurt a lot.
So she ran. Right through them, down the hall they came from, past them...
Ran down on down the hallway.
Right over a large opening into the sky.
She fell in an instant, down into the sky, falling and flailing her arms and probably looking a little stupid. Then she gained calm again, from somewhere. This was moments that needed calm.
She straightened herself.
And then got shot by a giant artlerly shell.
That hurt an awful lot.
She realised that the lower half of her costume was entirely gone, leaving her in hopefully clean panties. Her dignity was hurt. As was the rest of her.
And she needed to get this fucker down...
She hit the ground, and pushed down against it, destroying the concrete street as she did. Sarah shot right up, very nearly breaking the speed of sound.
And went through the blimp like a giant bullet.
She went through the cabin then the balloon. Blimps have a lot of steel girders in them, she hit a couple before breaking through the top, making a huge hole as she saw the night sky.
She landed on top of it.
The blimp was bleeding helium. Despite what you might think, it wasn't an incredibly fast process but it was a process underway. It was going down. No matter what happened this flight would be over at some point in the very near future. She saw 1000's of police officers (that may have been an exaggeration) on the ground. It looked like the national guard. This would be over. Deca couldn't escape. She had won. She had saved the city.
She flopped down on top of the balloon exhausted. Her body was covered in soot and scars. Every part of her hurt. Every part of her.
Yet she would still get to work tomorrow. She didn't want to get the reputation of someone who missed days.
But now she relaxed.
"What a waste," observed Nighthawk, who was somehow standing next to her. "Pathetic."
"The blimps going down. I saved us."
"The blimps not the problem. He is! And look at you: Slacking. You and all your terrific powers. What a waste on a pathetic slacker like yourself. I worked for this...a thousand hours in the gym, training my body to the peak of humanity. And you come in with your fancy tricks to make the people love you. But they never guess what a waste you are, Sarah. Yeah...I know: Ms. Jennings. All the power in the world and you will never live up to your potential."
Mazing giirl looked at him
"Well you mani-pedi!"
That was a good comeback. That was amazing. Nighthawk...
Well...Nighthawk suddenly had a huge hole in his chest as Deca stuck his hand through it from behind. He fell over...dead.
"SARAH HUH?" said Deca "JENNINGS? NICE TO MEET YOU."
Sarah stood up on the top of the falling blimp. Deca was there hovering, he had some type of jetpack thingy. It made his giant black cape swish a bit.
She adjusted a bit. "What do you possibly hope to accomplish?" she asked "" I am not trying to trick you, or anything, I just honestly, honestly, want to know the point of all of this."
"You," Deca told her, in a surpsingly normal voice. "You were always the goal. He was right, you know. Ms. Jennings, you are the most powerful super in the world. Your powers, your skills, are greater then anyone else on the planet."
"No...thats not true. Hiro, Defender, Maiden of..."
"Reputation. Goverments wanting there champions to seem mighty. Newspapers selling papers. But I didn't say reputation. You are stronger, faster, tougher...all of it. You are the ultimate expression of humanity. And if I destroy that, then thats what I will be."
"No," Sarah protested. Then she realised that this guy was crazy. She had beaten him before, and that probably inflated her a bit in his eyes. It had to be that.
As it went through her mind she thought about the big heroes of the past. The one that had saved cities from destruction. Strong; Brave. sometimes backed by society - but her powers was just amazing. While plenty of them had been strong, her strength was beyond theirs. She was.....
Well, time for the most powerful hero in the world to do her thing.
"This is for Brian"
She jumped forward off the blimp grabbing him and flying forward with him at 250 miles an hour, into the side of a bank two or three miles away.
She hoped she was smashing into something heavy, but it was really just the windows. They came to a stop inside an office.
Deca then punched her in the head. That hurt probably the most of anything so far.
"Since the last time we were together I've increase my hydraulic power tenfold. I hope that's enough. I doubt it a bit...but one can hope."
She punched him agian "This is for Joe"
Deca turned." The first one i remember....the second one"
"And that is why you suck" said Sarah as she kicked him in the chest.
"Improved armour protection, too."
Sarah paused as he punched her again. This was hurting. The artillery earlier hadn't helped, but this was hurting. She punched at him, but he dodged it. He punched her, but she grabbed his arm and threw him out of the building and to the ground bellow.
She caught her breath for a second, but then he just flew back up out the window.
It was then that a rain of bullets hit her, pounding her as she ducked behind a support column.
"Coward!" She ran through the building - literally through the building, not bothering to stop for walls - until she hit the side of the last glass wall and jumped out.
"I am not the 90 pound weakling in a stupid suit!"
She jumped towards the police men in central city. that whoudl give her more protection.
She noted that the blimp had hit the side of one of the huge courthouses and was coming down with a bit of a crash. It didn't look that bad though.
She also noted that he was following her
A stream of bullets flew at her, spewing into the night.
She hit the side of the courthouse with her feet and like a swimmer and flew right back into him.
This smashed him, knocking him and his jetpack down. He crashed in a park, skidding into a fountain.
She adjusted a bit and landed on the Time building before jumping down next to him.
With her, 100 policemen encircled him.
"Stand back! Let me handle it!" "Mazing Girl commanded, with more authority then she could usually muster. They listened to her.
She grabbed Deca's body as it faltered, and punched off his mask. There was his face. His real face...like a Scooby-Doo villain. He was a small man, really...small and pathetic.
She then felt an incredible sensation at the back of her neck, felt it smashing. Her trouble-detector, only at a 100 times the normal magnitude.
He was still on the ground. "You forgot my power, 'Mazing Girl: Getting into your mind. It is amazing. I can get in there and trigger that little sense of yours...too much? Hmmm...let's see what it does..."
Sarah fell to the ground. The sense of horror his horror was too much for her. Too fucking much she felt incredible. All of the evils of the world entering her skull unfettered by rhyme or reason.
"90 pound weekling in a suit? Guilty. All that time and energy, robots meca and i had it all along"
Sarah felt the world's pain, it's suffering, all in her head. All of it at once.
When someone else walked over.
"hello brother," the Eternal Flame greeted Deca as she walked onto the scene from out of nowhere.
"Hello sister" said Deca. "Oh, you didn't know this? Or did you? That Flame and I are twin brother and sister?"
"near identical power-sets," said Flame. " i didn't want to fight you, i admit. nut you give me no choice."
Sarah could barely look up at the scene in front of her.
"Oh." Deca smiled, standing up. "I just peeked in her mind. Really? Her? That's where your getting your pleasures? This makes it all the sweeter! Dear sister, do you want to know if she loves you? You're too polite, or perhaps too scared to find out...but you want to know, don't you?"
Sarah could feel the power, as it grew stronger it grew more pronouced. She realized that 92 people had died tonight, 140 had some form of injury, 12,453 where in a massive traffic jam as the restult of closing downtown, and 12,234,234 where worried watching this on the news, worried for their loved ones, worried for the families. Sarah learned that it if she had captured him that night 6 months ago none of this would have happened. She learned of the massive property damage he had caused (she had caused), all the destruction and evil that had happened. A giant looming darkness. And perhaps, in her most fevered moments, she could sense something beyond it, something beyond words or meaning. Something.
And then a thought entered her head. He was *monarching* her. He was treating this as if it was a game they were playing. None of it mattered except winning. All of that was irelevant. What was the point of taking a city that wasn't worth two licks? Sarah was many things, but she cared. She was fat lets face it, a nerd, a slacker, and someone who ocasionaly smoked pot, but she cared.
And man did she hate the show the Venture Brothers.
Sarah was wracked with more pain then she had ever felt before, splayed on the ground. but then she closed her hand and got to her feet. Evil was afoot, and she was the 'Mazing lady sent to stop it.
Deca continued to wraped up in his monologuing. "Does the pathetic little stage-tech really care? Why bother telling you though, because now she is..."
"Done," Sarah finished for him, and punched him in the face. He fell over in a slumpy pile.
The pain was just gone. It was like it was never there. She got up as police swarmed around her and Deca's twitching body on the ground. The Flame drifted away, and she didn't see where she went. Sarah wasn't sure how much the police had heard of the little exchange. No one talked about it much, which was all for the best. But maybe just wishful thinking.
She walked away to the fire of the blimp.
Knife Girl was there, looking over the body of Nighthawk. They had taken off the mask.
Sarah paused. She had never seen Knife Girl's boyfriend, and a sudden thought occured to her. What if it had been Nighthawk? What if his reluctance masked the fact that it was really him and that they were secretly enemies and lovers. It would be poetic. Terrible for her, but poetic.
"Do you know him?" she asked Knife Girl.
"No. He was a TV weather man."
Sarah shook her head and looked at him, thought of glider, thought of all that had happened. The ranks of the heroes had dropped today. There would be stories about how brave all of them had been today, and what sacrifices they had made for the city. It gave little comfort. She had been a hero. She brought down his blimp defeated him, but that gave her no joy. It was kind of an awful night. And there would be another night like it soon enough. If not Deca(probably not Deca as that final punch may have broken his spine) but someone to fill the darkness with dread. And there was less light in it.
"I'm going to miss the fucker," confessed Knife Girl, and that was the exact thing to say.
And Sarah realised she was still just wearing panties on her bottom. She really hoped there wasn't a lot of cameramen.
"Can you get me, like. a blanket or something?" she asked a paramedic.
He did so, and got her water too. She went to sit down under a tree in the park.
"what a waste my brother was," observed the flame from "when he saw our parents die he thought of fortune and fame. when he got our powers he wanted money. I let him...why not? but that wasn't enough, it was never enough. he wanted power for its own sake. greedy eyes."
Flame, of course, came from nowhere to sit next to Sarah. She put her hand on Sarah's knee.
"You should have told me" said Sarah.
"we have the same last name," Flame told her. "I would assume you could have figured it out."
Sarah chuckled slightly, and then she looked at Lana.She wasn't sad in a traditional sense, or crying. But Sarah looked up at Lana and she saw something human in her eyes. It was just a glance really, perhaps a tad of fear, worry, and panic.
"i was scared that they would get you," theFlame said. "afraid I would loose you. Thats why I didn't want to go with you. Too scared to see. Blimps."
And with that sarah paused consider something. She meant something to someone. She was melting the ice queen.
And, oh fuck, she was falling in love with her too. Fuck.
"Lana would you like a roommate?"
Was she saying this? She had a condo. Lana owned a Five bedroom house Mid-Wiltshire. A roommate was kind of silly. What, would she contribute to utilities?
Lana's eyes were starting to get misty and she could tell this wasn't tears of sadness. She was defiently breaking. Flame was getting sappy on her, and she was defiently getting sappy back.
"It would be nice you know...to have someone to come home to..and I know we can team up and stuff and..."
She was saying this. She was asking to fucking live together. In her head she thought about making a rose garden, and having children together. 401K's, and marriage with two little brides on the cake. Fuck.
Lana leaned in and hugged her. She was crying, or looked like it. She nuzzled into her neck with the look, if not incredible warmth, tenderness.
This was so so not her. And lana was so not her type. They could never get a beer together, watch action movies together, discuss the merits of Iron Man together, eat smoked meats together. Yet the imense desire to spend the rest of her fucking life with this women filed her with sudden mania.
"Can I read your thoughts?" Lana asked as she looked up at her. Her own eyes were weak, scared, vulnerable. Then she paused.
Sarah filled the space. "Okay. I just don...."
"No need. Your face tells me everything. It's not bad. It's not good, it's...you feel exactly what I'm feeling right now."
Sarah paused. Damn.
Lana finished Sarah's thought. "And that may not be love, that may not be forever, but goddammit if its not beautiful."
There is no perfect ending to this story. No ending that would be happily ever afte. Sarah was a bit of a flake. Lana had emotional issues up the ying-yang. Whether they stayed together or seperated they would do so with the knowledge of this perfect moment, and the fact that its promise could never be entirely fulfilled. Also, Lana was entirely lesbian and Sarah was kind of fooling around.
Heroes didn't exist. Humanity was no good. Love's potential was doomed to folly.
But the next day Sarah went to a condo real estate agent and, damned if she didn't get 85% of her asking price. She was never happier.
Becuse it didn't have to be perfect. It didn't have to be neat, or clean or simple.
It was life.
And it was amazing.