Go Time: Part 2

Daniel grunted something unintelligible, but didn’t wake up.

I imagined an air horn, an old one that varied in pitch, ranging from a normal tone to a ragged, scratchy one to a painful screech.

Then, thinking back to our fight against Evil Beatnik, I started imagining a chorus of air horns, all of them slightly out of tune, endlessly repeating the only part of Barry Manilow’s “Mandy” that I could remember—the refrain.

Daniel raised his head. “That’s got to be against the Geneva Conventions. What time is it?”

We both turned toward the alarm clock. It was 5:48am.

“What were you waking me up for?” His voice trailed off. “Lucky you. You’re close enough to family that she feels okay with dropping by.”

“Yeah,” I said. “How did she find out what we’re doing?”

Daniel sighed. “Guess. She dropped by when I was dreaming about it, and stayed around long enough to get a general sense of what we’re doing. Then she got my attention and started asking questions. There wasn’t any point in lying.”

I lay on my back, looking up at the ceiling. It wasn’t very interesting. “She did work for Mossad. I suppose it was a bit much to expect that neither of your parents would find out.”

Daniel grunted. “There’s a reason intelligence agencies hire telepaths.”

Of course his mom’s telepathy was considerably more limited than her strongest ability. It was a lot like Daniel’s—allowing her to sense minds a few hundred feet in diameter around herself. Her ability to get into people’s dreams, however, didn’t have a distance limit that anybody had yet discovered. She had to have touched them once and both she and the target had to be asleep.

“For what it’s worth,” I said, “if you haven’t already pulled it out of my head, I’m done. It all works. We can launch Saturday.”

Daniel made a noise somewhere between a grunt and a laugh. “I’ll tell the launchee. Does that include the suit you mentioned?”

“She’ll be invisible to radar, and if someone sees her, they’ll assume she’s in powered armor.”

Daniel didn’t say anything for a moment, but then said, “I like that. What does she look like when she’s around here?”

“Umm… Wearer’s choice. I”m thinking I’ll color it like the costume she’s been wearing.”

“Good idea,” Daniel said. “Are you going to mind if I go back to sleep?”

“We may as well try.”

I closed my eyes, thinking about the night I’d had, trying to become relaxed enough to sleep again even though I knew that I’d be getting up depressingly soon.

After a little while, my thoughts drifted a little further afield, and I had a sudden insight that made a lot of sense. It certainly wasn’t something I intended to ask Daniel’s parents about, but I would have bet it was true.

“Ugh,” Daniel muttered. “You know that I’ve known about my parents’ powers practically as long as I’ve been alive, and I’ve never considered that?”

“It’s kind of obvious if you think about it.” My eyes were closed, and my speech might have slurred.

“You’re not going to have to think about it the next time my Dad’s on a mission, or worse when Mom steps into my dreams to tell me.”

“Funny how not living at home makes it worse,” I said, or at least tried to. It came out unintelligible.

I didn’t hear Daniel’s reply. I fell completely asleep, but if I had stayed awake I can’t say I would have been much more sympathetic. He had to have been deliberately ignoring it. His parents must have been using her dream power for conjugal visits when one or the other were away on trips for years.

It had to beat sexting by a wide margin.

* * *

It was a day not unlike any other, but even those days present challenges. For example on Thursday, I had to visit my assigned therapist for my first individual session. We’d been having group sessions once a week.

I was missing my first half hour in lab. Walking through the well lit rock corridors, I wondered why they’d chosen to have me miss lab instead of fighting, working out, or disaster recovery training.

I’d have felt less tired for one.

Eventually I found the office. To my surprise, it wasn’t an office, it was a suite. The program had a counseling center, complete with ten different offices for counselors, and three different conference rooms.

The rooms had windows that looked out, away from the city of Castle Rock and the compound, giving a view of mountains and foothills, yucca and scrub pine.

Making sure that the name on the door was correct (Nancy Hemming), I walked inside, tapping on the door to make sure she knew.

A woman in her late twenties walked up to meet me. She wore a brown suit. Holding out her hand to shake mine, she said, “Nick, nice of you to come. I’d like to talk about what led you to become part of the Stapledon program.”

12 thoughts on “Go Time: Part 2”

  1. Disguising the flying brick as someone in a suit of power armour has a long and honoured tradition. Silver Age Superman did it, on occasion, though he was usually in a lead-lined anti-Kryptonite suit. I did like the renegade Superboy robot wearing the lead-impregnated bandages…

    Also, the love lives of super telepaths – a subject you’d be best advised to only think carefully about. [grin]

  2. Okay, when they were talking about Daniel’s moms powers, I thought they were talking about her visiting Daniel when he was on long trips, and then sexting popped up, which made it seriously weird. And then I realized what the hidden message was. Which made it somewhat better

  3. Another time-honored tradition demonstrated here: the metahuman applicaton of Rule 34. Every power has perversion potential.

  4. Given that their powers are the result of changes to their DNA, I find it amazing that she ever managed to get pregnant and give birth to human seeming children. My head canon has always been that it was the result of Franklin’s powers reaching back through time to ensure that he, and they, would come into existence. All the weirdness and apparent illogic in the Marvel universe makes more sense when you assume the explanation is that Franklin wants it that way.

  5. Good chapter, Jim!

    I love the way you approached telepathic sexting, because I can completely imagine that conversation between Daniel and Nick happening exactly like that.

  6. @Unillustrated: I seem to recall they covered the altered DNA problem. Iirc, Reed just about pulled his hair out worrying about the effects of the cosmic radiation on any children that may be born, and Susan had problems carrying both Franklin and his sister to term. Didn’t she also miscarry once?

    @Hydrargentium: The joke has been made more than once that Susan Richards is the happiest woman in the Marvel Universe. And Crystal the unhappiest.

  7. “We’d been having weekly group sessions once a week.”
    It seems to me that the definition of weekly is once a week, so a bit redundant.

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