Taking Control: Part 4

Melanie shook her head, “You all heard about that prom, right?”

“I was there,” Courtney said, sounding annoyed.

Michelle, confused, said, “I’m not from here. I’m from Traverse City, so if something special happened, I don’t know about it.”

“You heard about it,” I said. “It’s the one where a guy turned into a monster and attacked people in the gym, and the Heroes League took him out?”

“Oh,” she said, sounding shocked, “that prom. They were talking about it on the news for weeks. That was when people started using that… power juice stuff?”

Right there I guessed that Courtney hadn’t told Michelle that Keith had been the guy who got famous for demonstrating power juice, breaking his arm in the process. I felt sure she wouldn’t thank me for explaining it either.

“Logan, the guy who turned into a monster? He was Melanie’s date,” I said.

Michelle’s jaw dropped. “No…”

Melanie nodded. “Oh yeah. I took the stuff too. He turned into this thing, and I could read minds or something. I’d already drunk a lot of Jack Daniels, and it felt weird. Just strange. It was like I was in this crowd of people who just wouldn’t stop talking.

“It’s a great story for parties,” she said. “Everyone’s got bad date stories, but I’ve got the worst date.”

She looked down toward where I sat on the couch. “What happened to you? We were talking, and then Logan turned into a thing. Where did you go?”

“I got caught up in the fog.” That’s what I’d been telling people anyhow.

She nodded. “Me too.”

“Keith and I were on the other side of it.” Courtney sounded tired.

I wondered if I should do something, but what was there to do? Anyway, I did have a question. “Whatever happened to Logan? I didn’t see him at all after prom.”

Melanie shrugged. “I saw him a little during the summer. I guess he’s in some college program, but it’s got something to do with the government. Maybe he’s in the army?”

“Huh.” I didn’t think the army would take someone with his drug use problems, and I knew he wasn’t in the Stapledon program. I would have noticed that. I really would have noticed that.

It didn’t seem likely that they had special program for people with bad reactions to power juice. I could see someone wanting to study him though.

“I should get to class,” Courtney said. She grabbed a notebook and a couple textbooks, and put them in a backpack.

I got up, and walked out the door with her. When the door shut, I said, “If your class is at eleven, it doesn’t start for at least half an hour.”

She sighed. “I know. I didn’t want to be there anymore. Michelle’s nice, but I don’t want to talk about prom.”

We stood there in the hallway. We weren’t the only ones. Halfway down the hall, someone said, “Hurry, they’re only serving breakfast for ten more minutes.” Plus, a bunch of the doors were open.

“Do you want to go outside?” Courtney looked down the hall.

I said, “Sure.” We walked down the stairs to the ground floor, and out of the building.

Not all that many people were around. Most of them were on the sidewalks, and we walked on to the lawn. No one stood near us.

“I’m sorry I dragged you over here.” She frowned. “I needed to talk to someone, and you’re the only one who knows anything about it.”

She looked around us, probably checking how close people were. “I’m also sorry if you feel uncomfortable. You’re Keith’s friend, and it’s really unfair of me to complain about him to you.”

“It’s okay,” I said. It was. Keith hadn’t been as much a friend as an acquaintance that I knew pretty well. Anyway, if I felt uncomfortable, it wasn’t because of him.

* * *

After my last class of the day (organic chemistry lab), I walked to the parking garage. Outside of driving to the League’s headquarters, it was the only place I knew I could get some privacy.

I walked up to the third floor of the garage, giving a look over the ledge in front of the van. Half of campus lay in front of me—residence halls, lecture halls, GLU’s recreation center, railroad tracks, and past them old factories, and old houses, most of them rented by students.

I got into the van, pulled the curtain, and sat in the back with most of the stealth suit, the guitar, our utility belts and our costumes. When I bought the van, I’d put in hooks to hang things on, and put in shelves, but it was still messy.

I sat in a bucket seat, trying not to step on anybody’s costume, hoping I wouldn’t discover anybody’s underwear.

I pulled out my League phone, and called Isaac Lim.

He answered, and his picture appeared on my screen. Black haired, with light brown skin, he wore a black suit, and stood in front of a gray wall. It appeared to be painted metal as opposed to rock or a normal wall. Could he be on a ship?

“Nick,” he said. “ What’s up?”

“I’ve got some questions. A bunch, actually. I’m wondering if you know anything about that guy we fought last night, if someone I know could get into the Stapledon program, and if you know anything about Logan, the guy who attacked people at prom last year? Plus, what’s up with the power juice ban? Can anyone use it legally?”

11 thoughts on “Taking Control: Part 4”

  1. I could someone wanting to study him though.

    Needs a see in there.

    Still doing a great job.

  2. “What’s the deal with airline peanuts? Who put the bop in the bop she bop she bop? Who shot JFK? Where do babies come from? Would I get in trouble if I was smoking a huge joint right now? Can you get me tickets for a midnight showing of The Avengers? Can I apply for a license to kill?”

    But yeah, interesting if the Nine are setting up a rival program because of all the power juice and impregnators out there. You think they’d be able to help me out with my student loans?

  3. Would be interesting if someone got addicted to power juice… Or, for extra fun, if someone found that their power juice ability was to act as power juice on other people (by touch, or maybe by open mouth kissing?), or for extra bootstrap appeal, a power impregnator… Someone who could act as a power impregnator would, of course, be immune to power impregnators themself. [grin]

    Could someone be relying on power juice to stay alive? A sort of immortality that meant you’d age really really fast if you stopped taking it? Or, need it for a health reason, like it gave them regeneration that kept something like cancer, or more likely an auto immune disease, from killing them?

    Speculations. [grin]

  4. “I could someone wanting to study him though.”
    I think you meant “I could SEE someone…”?

  5. Jeff/Andrul: Thanks for the typos and thanks for the compliments.

    PG: Or better, get me a ticket for the Avengers…

    Dreamer: Some of those are possibilities. One is actually going to be used (though not exactly as speculated there). Addictive power juice is, of course, part of the history of the story (which may or may not be reintroduced).

  6. OK I was re-reading some old chapters, do that a lot on this site, and a question popped into my head.

    I know this is probably the wrong place for it, but does Kayla get paid for being the League Operator? Well, other then being basically given a suit of power armor, but really that was more the League needing an extra gun in a fight than a payment to her.

  7. Piccolo: Not a problem. Kayla does get paid. It’s essentially her summer/part-time job. Her armor is just as much allowing her to continue to act as operator away from HQ as it is to allow her to fight.

    I haven’t had any reason to go into details in the story, but there we go.

  8. Jim, after you mention not having any reason to go into details on Kayla, I have immediately developed a desire to see her get a few chapters. It would be amusing to hear her take on what goes on around her.

    I’ve also realized that unless someone came along and re-blocked her, It’s LONG past time that Nick’s mother get a couple chapters as well.

    These things may have already happened though, I’m still nearly two years behind.

  9. One thing I thought about when reading the last chapter, and should have commented on there, is Courtney’s shapeshifting power able to make an organ inside her that produces power juice?

    1. It is, but it’s complicated. She has to learn how to use her powers, and some things are easy to figure out. If you want to get taller, it’s easy to tell if you’re succeeding. If you want to make your face look different or even add muscle, looking in the mirror can tell you what you need to know.

      Constructing a new gland inside your body would impossible to see under normal circumstances, even assuming you had a plan for how to make human tissue synthesize the drug in useful quantities.

      Could she do it? Yes. She’d just have to figure out how.

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