On Saturday morning around 6 a.m., I drove the Ball over to Man-machine’s lair. It was far too early to get up for a Saturday, but it was the best time to go.
Taking the Ball apart turned out to be a bit of a pain. Chris and I kept on discovering new wires and cables to detach from the back of the dashboard, but then we discovered an access panel for the weaponry on the outside of the Ball.
Granted when you’re making weaponry for supervillains, making access panels clear and obvious probably isn’t the highest priority, but I still wished it had been a little higher up on the designer’s list.
Continue reading Dupes: Part 3
We spent the next few days bugging the houses and cars of any family members Vaughn thought had connections to his family’s medical interests or worked in medicine.
Giles Hardwick, Vaughn’s grandfather, had had five kids and they’d each had two or three children of their own. Plus, he had a brother and two sisters and they’d had children and grandchildren too. Not all of them stayed in Grand Lake, but by the time we were done on Wednesday night, we’d bugged twenty different people.
Continue reading Decisions: Part 7
I drove Haley to her home, but ended up staying for a couple hours after that.
I left there just before eleven, dropping off the car back at HQ, and making it home on time for curfew. Then I read a book for a few more hours, and went to bed around two in the morning.
I didn’t fall asleep at school the next day, but I hadn’t gotten enough sleep, making me more withdrawn than usual. I took notes, ate lunch by myself, and stayed away from people.
This had one practical result. I didn’t know where any of my friends were going to be after school, making it hard for me to bum a ride home. That wouldn’t ordinarily have been a problem except that it started to rain during the last period, and didn’t stop when school let out.
Continue reading Decisions: Part 5
The water didn’t help at all.
Both Grandpa’s design and my redesign assumed that the flying bots would be operating outside and made them water resistant, but they were still small. Getting hit knocked them to one side or another, making the swarm move more slowly because of the constant course adjustments.
That meant that they didn’t instantly leave the steel beams near the ceiling of the gym where I’d sent them earlier. It also meant that that Logan, Dayton, and Jody fought longer than they might have after I summoned the roachbots.
That gave Jody time to try some different attacks — a lot of them, actually, thanks to his speed.
Continue reading Uncontrolled Substances: Part 12
The chaperone backed away from the table as Logan, now considerably furrier, looked at him as if he were the snack.
A brush cut, blond guy I’d seen talking to Logan said, “Logan? Hey! Are you in there? Leave the guy alone.”
Joshua. That was the guy’s name.
He pushed his way around the table, standing between Logan and the chaperone. If Joshua hoped to intimidate Logan, I couldn’t see how it would work. The guy stood only a few inches taller than Haley, and she was only five feet tall.
He pulled a flask out of an inside pocket in his tuxedo jacket and chugged a few swallows.
Continue reading Uncontrolled Substances: Part 11
In fairness to Sean, he didn’t try to claim credit for taking them out. He didn’t have to. The cameras lied.
Good visuals are crack for news crews. Explaining that Daniel mentally blasted Spike and Skewer into unconsciousness is hard to show on screen. Bashing them together in the air looked great even if it didn’t do anything to them.
Not that Sean got all the credit. Punching people into walls also made for great footage — as did shots of Jaclyn and I shattering the ice around us, or Vaughn blasting Payback with a lightning bolt.
Cassie and Haley barely appeared except on those stations that ran the fight straight through.
Continue reading Uncontrolled Substances: Part 1
Sean looked over the oncoming crowd a little nervously, and asked me, “What are we supposed to do now?”
“No idea,” I said.
Then I turned on the loudspeaker.
They were halfway across the lawn, and the growing darkness gave the group a “Night of the Living Dead” feel. Not that they were really zombies, but a crowd of people walking toward you isn’t a normal situation.
Continue reading Hysteria: Part 9
Payback screamed and fell over, his body outlined in electricity.
The air smelled of ozone, and smoke.
When the lightning stopped, I could see Payback more clearly. His chest still moved, but he wasn’t doing much more than that. His right arm looked uncomfortably red and blistered.
From behind me Vaughn shouted, “I got him, right?”
Continue reading Hysteria: Part 8
The next day we stepped out of school and into a media circus.
Sometime between last night and that afternoon, the reporter’s story had been taken up by the Associated Press and a video of Keith’s transformation had gone viral. Reporters stood at the bottom of the steps. Vans with satellite uplinks parked alongside the sidewalk. Photographers and cameramen stood waiting.
Continue reading Hysteria: Part 1
I couldn’t think of a person I’d least like to hear say those words, but it didn’t really matter what I thought.
Sean, still limping a little, but off the crutches he’d been using since our fight, pushed through the crowd. The fact that Dayton, Sean’s much larger friend, walked with him undoubtedly helped with the pushing.
Ignoring Vaughn, he said, “So what do I do?”
“Just hold out your arm.” Keith put drips of each liquid on Sean’s forearm.
Continue reading Chemistry: Part 6