7 Random Days in the Life of a Hero
Subject: Linda Scoven, Saturday
“Lady Mayhem, is this review board some distracting you from other, more urgent business?” The masked brunette seated facing the half-dozen DVA investigators and sub-directors found herself smirking in response to the sarcasm laden question.
“Firstly, Mr super-important review board chairperson,” the review overseer, an older man wearing a tweed suit, turned an interesting shade of red at the mocking tone from the Hero looking up at him. “I haven't been 'Lady' Mayhem in almost three months. If you keep referring to me with the incorrect address I'll have to assume you're supposed to be reviewing the actions of a different Hero, and leave you to it.
“Secondly,” the brown and red suited costumed woman continued before the angry bureaucrat could formulate a reply. “I do, in fact, have far more important things to do than sit here and listen to another half-assed disciplinary hearing. I likely have to attend more of these than anyone else in the room, and I believe a great deal of time could be saved if the DVA would quit the damned posturing at me and let me do my job.”
“A fair point, Mayhem.” One of the younger members of the review, a woman whose name Linda hadn't caught (or bothered to remember at least), jumped in before the overseeing sub-director could stop sputtering in outrage. “This is your seventh disciplinary review this year, in only the month of April I might add. You don't think there might be some deeper issue with YOUR actions that needs to be addressed when you're actions require review more than twice as frequently as the next highest risk Heroes in the country?”
“Nope.” The single word response, from the woman still wearing a mocking grin, momentarily shocked the entire review into silence.
“Would you care to elaborate on that point?” The question came again from the review chairman, the words forced out in a level tone through tightly gritted teeth.
“I wouldn't particularly care to, as that leaves me doing YOUR jobs as well as my own, but in the interest of getting back to work I supposed I must.” The Hero stood with a deeply theatrical sigh as she responded, then nearly broke down into laughter when all six members of the review board flinched away from her sudden movement. What, they think I'd wait til NOW if I was going to start attacking DVA reviews?
“I am frequently dragged before a DVA after-action review, in whichever jurisdiction I happen to by occupying on a given day, to give accounting for an action in which lethal force was used, or in which any force at all was used against a non Super or Powered criminal.” There was almost a note of pride in the woman's voice as she recited what was obviously a well-practiced speech. “Over the past three years since I've been a solo act, I've stood before review boards just like this one,” though usually with a little higher average IQ, “a little bit more than three times more frequently than any other active Hero.”
“And you thin-...”
“ALSO,” Linda offered a glare as she continued right over top of the attempted interruption, “I have been force on twice as much mandatory evaluation or administrative leave in regards to situations I've dealt with, and have been the primary responding Hero to four times as many incidents as the next most active Hero in the country.” A brief pause as the tall brunette suppressed another bit of laughter as half the review board now sat stunned, and the other half was frantically paging through files on tablets or laptops to verify what she'd just said. “Seeing as how I'm four times as active as any other Hero currently, but only have three times as many disciplinary reviews, simple math tells you that I am NOT really the massive risk the DVA constantly tries to paint me as. The reason I'm here so often is because I don't take as many vacation days.”
The tweed suited sub-director started what would likely have been a long and angry tirade in response, but he was cut off by one of the other review members, dragging his attention towards whatever was currently on the younger man's screen. After a several moment of whispered discussion, the man nominally in charge turned back to the Hero, a slightly more neutral expression on his face.
“It seems that your numbers do, in fact, check out, Mayhem.” Linda forced her smile back from the mocking look she'd been wearing into something more cordial. “As such I think this review board will be adjourned shortly.”
The tall Hero's smile became a great deal more genuine at that, and she reseated herself to patiently wait through another round of whispered discussion.
“Well then, I believe we have a consensus. Mayhem, this review board does find that you were justified in your use of lethal force against the fire manipulating Super, Craig Jensten, on April the 7th. Additionally,” the smile immediately vanished. 'Additionally' was NEVER a good word at these proceedings, “in light of your extreme workload and the potential for a Hero to cause themselves psychological harm when they don't take a proper amount of time to de-stress, this board is making a formal recommendation that the Hero Mayhem immediately be placed on paid leave status for a period of not less than four weeks.”
“Four WEEKS?” Linda knew that the outburst was a bad idea, but she couldn't quite keep herself from doing it. “Do you have any idea how many people are goin-...”
“That is the finding of this review board.” The brown and red costumed Hero ground her teeth together at the smug look now worn by the sub-director looking down at her. “We are adjourned.”
As soon as those words were out, all six members of the review board stood to move quickly out of the room. Linda sat in her seat for several long moments after they left. A month off. What the hell am I going to do for a whole month?
“God dammit Sally, stop laughing.” The brunette scowled at her phone as she sat in the corner of the diner and waited for her late breakfast to arrive.
“Nope!” The single syllable was barely choked out over the fit of giggling the teleporter on the other end of the line had fallen into as soon as Linda had called to inform her that she'd been sentenced to a month-long vacation.
“Seriously, it's not that funny. What the hell am I going to do for four weeks?”
“You could always come and visit your family?” The brunette scowled until she realized that her expression was apparently frightening her server badly enough that the petite redhead was afraid to approach with the breakfast she was waiting for.
Linda forced a smile at the young girl, pointed at her phone and made an angry face, and sighed softly with relief when the server relaxed and brought her food over with a shy smile. “Yeah, visiting family. GREAT idea, Sally. Or did you want me to start calling you 'Mom' again?”
The mock threat drew another round of laughter over the phone as the brunette began salting and peppering her eggs. “You are NOT starting that again. It was embarrassing enough at the wedding.”
“You think you were embarrassed? My best friend marries a man almost twenty years older than she is, who happens to be MY FATHER.” Linda would never admit it out loud, but deep down she was happy that the two had gotten together. Even if it made certain things a little weird.
“You should at least stop by and say hello to your little brother.”
Weird things like THAT. “Yeah, I think I'll pass until he's old enough to do more than stare blankly at me and poop.”
“I thought you LIKED having a little brother.” The tone of the blonde on the other side of the call had changed abruptly.
Right, do not anger Super-mommy with teleporting powers unless you want to get stuck someplace unpleasant for your four-week vacation. “I have to say I was overjoyed when I found out getting a little brother would get my dad to retire so I could finally drop the stupid 'Lady' part from my name. Other than that, c'mon Sally, this is me. I'm great with kids, I'm TERRIBLE with babies.”
The earnest, and somewhat pleading, tone seemed to dispel whatever animosity had gathered on the side of the new mother. “You should still visit. It'd be a short trip if you hadn't decided to stay clear on the other side of the country.”
“I'm not staying ANYWHERE, Sally. I travel. I just happen to be in Maryland right now, while you're still staying in Portland for God-only-knows-why.”
“And what the hell is wrong with Portland? I was BORN here!” Fortunately the indignant tone this time was of the mocking variety.
“Hey thanks! That's what I could spend the next four weeks doing; writing out THAT full list.” Linda joined her friend this time in laughter. “Anyways, thanks for no useful ideas whatsoever...”
“...but I'm going to hang up on you now before my breakfast gets cold. I promise I'll make sure to visit once the baby grows into something I know how to deal with.”
“You'd better visit before then, if you know what's good for you. Bye Linda!” The mock threat drew one final chuckle from the brunette before she hung up and turned back to her breakfast.
Still no idea what I'm going to do with myself for next four weeks though. Linda decided she needed a little more distraction from the gaping hole in her schedule than just the large platter of eggs and pancakes that sat in front of her, and tried to get the attention of her waitress to turn up the volume on the diner's TV. Something on a news bulletin had flashed up about a cruise ship.
Is this what normal people do when things go wrong? Linda found herself almost wondering aloud as she remained seated in the tiny diner FAR longer than she had intended to, now joined by a small crowd of regulars all craning to see more details on the one tiny TV about the breaking story.
A trans-Atlantic cruise ship had been hijacked by an unknown Super about an hour and a half ago. There were a dozen talking heads being brought in to analyze the insane demands of the hijacker, which included a UN recognized sovereign nation for Supers, and to speculate as to why there had been no rescue attempts as of yet. And we run into another failing of the system. The ship is technically in international waters, so no one has official jurisdiction and everyone is afraid of causing an incident. Linda sighed as a DVA deputy director explained to a theatrically outraged Senator, for the third time, that since the ship was of French registry it would create a potential international incident if any US Heroes were to get involved prior to the ship reaching the US territorial waters.
The arguments had all been explored to their full limits within twenty minutes of the newscast starting, yet Linda found herself inexplicably bound to watch the same people have the same arguments with slightly different words over and over. Occasionally a new person was brought in to cycle through the same material, and still the brunette found herself almost unable to look away. Is this what everyday is like for the people who can't go out and try and fix this stuff? Just sitting and watching as people tell you the same story again and again until something changes? I'm going to go completely mad before my vacation is up.
The news broadcast finally switched from pundits to a head shot of an actual reporter, and Linda found herself perking up with the rest of the crowd to listen more carefully. “We have just received word that the French government has granted the US full jurisdiction in this incident, after emphasizing that they are not attempting to set a new international precedent, but instead are simply trying to respond to a current crisis before more lives can be lost. A pair of Heroes from New York, Atlas and Express Route, who were on standby waiting for a resolution on the jurisdictional issues, have been dispatched to neutralize the criminal Super and retake control of the passenger ship.”
Linda smiled as the small crowd in the diner cheered, and finally forced herself to walk away from the TV screen she'd been staring at for far too long. Atlas should be able to handle just about anything out there. See Linda? All that worrying for nothing, there's more Heroes in the world than just you. Even as she mentally chided herself, the tall woman found herself reaching into the concealed compartment between the handlebars of her bike as she mounted the vehicle in the parking lot, subtly removing the small earpiece from within and sticking it into her ear.
“Mayhem, this is Dispatch. My records show that you are supposed to be on administrative leave for the next 28 days.”
How the hell is she THAT fast? Linda didn't respond audibly until she had her bike started and was guiding it out towards the road. “I just wanted an update on the situation out in the Atlantic, Dispatch. I'm not trying to sneak back on duty, promise.”
The tall woman suppressed a chuckle as she heard a long-suffering sigh come from the earpiece. “Atlas and Express Route have successfully boarded L'Boreal and are moving hostages away from where they expect to encounter the criminal Super.”
“Did the news get his name right?”
“Criminal Super has identified himself only as Richter, and only once, before making a long and very unlikely series of demands directed towards the UN and US. No background is available on a Super with that name, he's being officially classed as a Standard threat until more information is available.”
So we have no idea what he's really capable of. At least they sent in the big guns in case he's got an ace or two up his sleeves. “Thanks Dispatch, Mayhem is going back off the grid.”
Linda waited a moment for the disembodied voice to respond, then felt a building anxiety as the mystery woman remained silent for several seconds. That anxiety was replaced with an absolute ball of dread when the faintly accented voice spoke again. “New priority update, L'Boreal situation is NOT contained. Atlas is requesting immediate backup. Express Route is not responding, presumed killed in action.” There was a momentary pause before Dispatch spoke again into Linda's ear. “Mayhem, your administrative leave is officially postponed until tomorrow at the earliest. Get to an area where you can be safely retrieved, we'll have a teleporter there in less than five minutes.”
“Mayhem confirms. How bad is it, Dispatch?”
“Atlas is injured but functional, the cruise ship was badly damaged, and whatever Richter did registered on seismic equipment along the coast. Richter is being re-classed as a Manhattan level threat, you're being brought in because you have previous experience dealing with a Manhattan level shockwave generator.”
“I'll be off the road and ready to go in two minutes.”
Mayhem looked around the hastily thrown together briefing room as she and her ride appeared in the doorway. Seven other costumed forms were already present, and arguing loudly, as the soft voice in her head informed her that she was the last to arrive. A rather harried looking man in a suit was attempting to get the gathered Heroes quieted while he yelled at a speaker phone on a nearby table for a status report.
Dispatch's clear voice rang out from the speaker to the room at large. “Atlas has extricated himself from the lower decks successfully and is moving back to re-engage with Richter. Giving direct audio now.”
The speaker crackled for a split second and a deep male voice replaced the faintly accented female's. “...moving up to the lower outdoor deck now, there's a lot of casualties here. Mostly injured, the shockwaves aren't very directional so there's a lot of collateral. We're going to need a full evacuation out he-... Found him. Richter is on the upper outdoor deck moving towards the bow. It looks like he injured himself with that blast he hit me with, he's dragging one leg behind him. Moving to apprehend now.”
“God dammit, Atlas, kill the asshole before he sinks the ship with everyone on it!” Nine sets of startled eyes turned to look at the brown and red costumed Hero as she yelled towards the speaker, but she ignored them. “He's officially upgraded to Manhattan class. That whole cruise ship is going to go if you don't take him down HARD.”
“Dispatch, kill outside audio please. I'm moving to apprehend Richter now.” Linda let her head drop into her hands as an exasperated sigh escaped her lips.
Please, God, let him be half as good as he thinks he is to pull this one off.
From the speaker came a rushing sound, followed by a startled yelp and some crashing noises. Then the same deep voice snarled. “Don't even TWITCH you bastard, or I will rip you in half. You understand me?”
Whatever the response might have been was drowned out by a massive burst of static followed by dead air. “Atlas' earpiece is no longer sending or receiving.” The calm voice of Dispatch came back over the speaker.
“Update, several seismic monitoring stations in the eastern US and the Caribbean islands have just registered a magnitude 8 seismic event in the vicinity of L'Boreal's last known location. No quake damage expected, tsunami watch in effect.”
“Dammit.” The only man in the room wearing civilian clothing was the first to speak again. “Dispatch, patch us through to the NSA and anyone else that MIGHT have some kind of visual on that ship's last coordinates. We need to se-...”
“Emergency update.” The new announcement from Dispatch was heard over the speaker phone as well as the earpieces of all the Heroes in the room. A fact that told the more experience Heroes that they were likely NOT the only ones hearing it. “Large tsunami was created by directional seismic event at the cruise ship L'Boreal's location. It will strike across a majority of the eastern US seaboard in approximately 24 minutes. All Heroes able to respond, please be ready to coordinate for sheltering, evacuation, and recovery efforts.”
Then everyone in the room with Linda began shouting at the same time.
This is going nowhere quickly. Several plans had been hatched, examined, and discarded in the few minutes since the incoming tsunami had been learned of. A few teams of powerful force field generators and water manipulators had been dispatched to blunt the worst of the damage to the highest population centers, but this still left well over a thousand miles completely open. Millions of people are going to die. We can't evacuate them, we can't shelter them. We need to stop the wave. Linda listened with less than half her attention as reports came in of several PEERS teams rapidly relocating to the east coast to provide what help they could. Still not enough.
The tall Hero felt her breath catch in her throat as the answer suddenly loomed up in front of her. The words that had been written into a long since sealed file, regarding a special evaluation of her ability's unusual manner of becoming more powerful. What we need is an Armageddon level kinetic controller. I really wish I knew more than one.
Before she could over consider the point, and possibly change her mind, the tall woman turned to the somewhat lost looking teleporter who had brought her in. An event that seemed lost in the past when a small team of Heroes was being assembled as possible backup for the take down of a single Super, instead of just one pocket of Heroes among many trying to stop an unnatural disaster from killing millions. “It's Drop Off, right?” The teleporter jerked a little in surprise at the sudden address, but nodded in response. “I think I can do something about this. I need you to drop me right out in the path of the wave. As close to the center as you can get.”
“Mayhem, if you have a plan we ca-...”
“No time, Dispatch. My plan either works or it doesn't, either way I'm only going to be borrowing a teleporter for about thirty seconds.” Linda breathed a silent sigh of relief when the voice in her head didn't push for more information, and smiled when she saw the Hero in front of her seem to firm up with resolve.
“You have a plan?” The redheaded teleporter spoke softly, but she met the gaze of the older Hero in front of her without hesitation.
“How far out do you need to go?”
Linda found herself pausing to do some quick mental math. “At the speed the wave is moving it should be about 140 miles out, drop me at 120 and get the hell out.”
As the woman simply nodded her acceptance and reached forward to take Linda's hand, the brunette Hero found herself wondering if there was anywhere else in the world where someone could make such an outlandish claim as being able to stop a tsunami, and receive instant belief and assistance instead of being treated like a lunatic.
Here's to hoping I'm not just a lunatic, I guess. With that thought, the pair of women vanished.
Linda had arrived to splash into the cold water with a rather undignified squawking sound, then had quickly resurfaced to wave her transport off so she could attempt something impossible.
“Mayhem, there are several sources requesting an update as to where and why you appropriated a teleporter that was going to be assigned to evacuation duty.” The normally calm tone of Dispatch was beginning to sound a bit frazzled.
“Drop Off should already be back, ready to be assigned to whatever needs doing. Hopefully it won't be necessary.”
“What are you planning to do out there, Linda?” The floating woman almost dipped under the waves in shock; this was the first time in all her years as a Hero that Dispatch had ever used her real name.
“I'm going to crank my power up to 11, and then I'm going to stop a killer tsunami from destroying the east coast.” Linda barely forced the words out around the lump that had formed in her throat, and withdrew a long, slender blade from a concealed flap on the back of her jacket as she did so. “Do me a favor, Dispatch? Tell Mayhem Sr and Blue Path that I'm sorry I never got a chance to make it back to Portland.”
“Message recorded. The tsunami will reach your coordinates in approximately thirty seconds. Good luck, Mayhem.”
The Hero blinked her eyes a few times to clear them, then carefully positioned the long blade against a cleverly concealed slot that lined up with the space between her bottom ribs. This is going to sting. With only a split second's hesitation, the brunette rammed the blade into her own chest, all the way up to the hilt. Pain blossomed immediately through her body, along with a sudden and intense need to inhale that couldn't be met; her lungs were both punctured by the single stab and were filling with blood far too rapidly to allow her another breath of air.
Then, as the floating Hero fought to keep the blackness from claiming her consciousness before her task was finished, all the pain and bodily sensations fell away. Suddenly Linda found herself floating in a far larger sea, one made up of a nearly infinite number of reddish strands showing her how everything moved. Far off in the distance, she could just barely glimpse a massive network of lines that must have been the rotation and revolution of the moon. I think I can... No. It took a massive effort to drag her rapidly wandering attention to the matters closer to her. Linda could feel the entire world spinning, could feel every current in the ocean around her. Even the tiniest eddies created by swimming fish. Farther away she could feel what must have been cars, and even people. Somewhere nearly directly above her she felt the turbulent motions of an airplane soaring past. And finally, she focused her attention directly before her, on the massive surge of red threads that made up the tsunami.
A bubbling laugh was choked forth from the Hero's lips, lungs expelling blood instead of air as she attempted to express the humor her new perspective had granted her. The massive wave, capable of killing so many, was such a tiny force compared to everything she could see around her. But it's the reason I'm out here. Not to play god with the earth and the moon, but to stop this ONE thing. That thought managed to anchor her long enough to reach into the tangle that made up the tsunami, its center now nearly upon her. And with a brief flexing of power that felt completely effortless, Linda pulled the wave back down into the calm of the sea. So surprised was the woman at how easily the wave was dissipated, she found herself pulling just a little too hard, and realized that for an instant she had calmed the entire ocean for hundreds of miles farther than the tsunami stretched. But letting go was even easier than pulling, and a gentle nudge pushed things back to doing what they were supposed to do.
Somewhere a long ways off, Linda could swear she heard someone yelling for her. But she was in the middle of the ocean, slowly sinking now, so that was impossible. Instead she turned her attention as far out as it could go, carefully not touching any of the beautiful tapestries of threads she could see making up the whole of the world around her, until things slowly became too dark for her to see anymore.
Linda slowly opened her eyes, then found herself blinking rapidly in shock. She hadn't expected to be opening her eyes again, much less to find herself staring at a concrete ceiling with slightly-too-bright fluorescent light tubes on it. A brief attempt to move her head brought several additional wake up calls in the form of nauseating waves of pain shooting through her entire body. It also attracted some outside attention.
“You're awake!” The voice was bright with relief, and concealing something else that the bedridden Hero couldn't quite place in her current state. “Thank God. The healers weren't able to get you completely healthy, something about how you enhanced your power kept them from doing more than barely getting you stable.” Anxiety, nervousness. That was what was being hidden behind the bright and cheerful tone.
Linda forced herself to look around a little more, this time using her ability instead of attempting to lift her head. As she expected by her generally awful physical feelings, the brunette found herself getting a great deal more feedback than she normally did when healthy. There were two people immediately outside the door to the room she was in, and one of them had jerked and wheeled to face the room as soon as Linda had started feeling around with her power. That's unusual. No mask on the person in the room with me, not a hospital, and the outfits on the people outside feel like armored fatigues. The Hero took a moment to focus her thoughts before turning her attention as fully towards the figure in the hall that had moved when she began 'looking' around. Why the hell does Force Ops have a Hero in an underground bunker under guard?
There was a moment of hesitation from the figure in the hallway, and the silence had dragged on long enough for the forcefully cheerful woman in the room with Linda to begin to crack visibly with stress, before the door opened and the man who'd been correctly identified as an Advanced Mind by the Hero came into the room.
“Thank you for checking on our guest, Sergeant. You can go now.” The no-longer-cheerful looking woman quickly fled the room at this suggestion, closing the door behind her as she went.
“I really hope you're cleared to know who I am, Captain.” Linda had to strain a little to make out the rank insignia on the man's fatigues. “I'd hate to have to detain several Force Ops personnel for memory treatments. Would probably create a bit of a political incident.”
“I am, in fact, cleared to know things like that, Ms Scoven. As is Sergeant Dillas.” The tall man made a nodding motion towards the door as he spoke. “For both of us it was more a matter of expediency than anything else; our abilities are refined enough, and of the correct type, that the vast majority of secret identities are meaningless to us.”
“Fair enough, Captain...?”
“Grey. Daniel Grey. I believe you expressed curiosity as to why you're suddenly a guest of Force Ops?”
“Yeah, before I had a few seconds to piece things together. I turned my power all the way up for the first time and I'm guessing some of the politicians got scared. Any idea on how long I'm going to be politically inconvenient enough to need to be kept out of sight?”
Daniel laughed in response, a surprised and very genuine sound. “You have most of it correct, Ms Scoven, but not quite all. Are you aware that while preventing the tsunami catastrophe you... overreached slightly?”
“That couldn't have been for more than a second, and I put everything back.” Linda sounded faintly embarrassed at the reminder of what she'd done, and all the things she'd been tempted to do, when she'd viewed the world through her power at full strength.
“You made a LOT of politicians, not to mention ordinary people, in a LOT of places very afraid for a moment there.” The captain moved to take a seat in a very uncomfortable looking metal chair and turned a very serious look towards the woman in the bed. “People don't like to be reminded that there are Supers out there that could, literally, destroy the world if they wanted to. Between that lunatic on the boat and your own actions in trying to rectify the situation, a lot of people got a very pointed reminder of something they would rather forget about.”
“Well, that's lovely to hear. I hope the politicians manage to work things out.” Linda had been gathering her energy and with a very careful combination of small physical movements and the application of her enhanced ability, she swiveled out and rose from the bed. Looking down as she did so, two things became immediately clear; whomever had been brought in to provide her emergency stabilization had been good enough a healer to remove all of her accumulated scars from the past 8 months since she'd last had the luxury of seeing such a person. Also, she was entirely without clothing.
“I'm going to hope that my costume is just 'in the dryer' and this isn't some attempt to keep me here out of shyness?” Linda smirked at the rapidly averted gaze of Captain Grey as she stood without making any attempt to cover herself. Never mind that if I make a rapid attempt to cover myself I would probably pass out from the pain of moving rapidly.
Another startled laugh was forced from the military officer in the room, and he managed to look back at the Hero (even mostly keeping his eyes looking at her face) in spite of the deep blush threatening to completely cover his face. “Yes, exactly. You were in the ocean, and your costume is in the dryer now. It just takes awhile to dry armored motorcycle leathers. You know how it is.”
The tall brunette gave the man credit, in spite of his blush and while still obviously recovering from his shock, he managed an almost perfect deadpan. Then the lack of a familiar tickling feeling on her back from long hair resulted in the Hero reaching up to find that her customary wig was ALSO missing. She was not currently a brunette.
“That's ALSO in the dryer.” The deadpan voice cracked for just a moment as the Force Ops captain couldn't quite keep the smirk off his face.
Linda responded with her own smirk, and then carefully picked the man and his chair up with her ability so that his head was level with her own, even though he remained seated. There was a single flash of worry on the man's face, but it vanished as he read the words just in advance of her getting them out verbally. “If you, or the sergeant, or ANYONE else in Force Ops EVER breathes a word about my hair, to ANYONE; they will never find your bodies.”
“I think it's a very stunning shade of pink, personally.”
Linda leaned in closer. “Never. Find. Bodies.” Satisfied that her point had been made, she slowly lowered the man and his chair back to the floor. “Now get me some clothes, I feel like shit, I deserve a drink for saving the east coast, and I have four weeks of administrative leave to get back to.”
“So you REALLY aren't going to tell me?” The indignant tone from the blonde woman gently rocking her sleeping baby was completely ignored by her friend as the taller brunette continued to gorge herself on the evening meal she had dropped in on unannounced. “Seriously?”
'Swerioshly.” The badly mangled word was forced out around a mouthful of chicken. A few seconds of chewing and a long drink came before any more words were attempted. “Seriously, Sally. I'm not supposed to talk about any of this crap until the politicians and the DVA get together to figure out what the official story is.”
“So what's the unofficial story?”
“I did something REALLY stupid and it saved the east coast from a tsunami.”
Sally sighed, and then became more distracted as the bundle in her arms began thrashing briefly before returning to sleep. “You have got to give me more details than that.”
“Why do you suddenly need details? You're the one whose still an active Hero, I'm just out here taking my four weeks of mandated vacation like you recommended.”
“And we're not going to talk about why you're barely able to move? Or why you were dropped off by a military teleporter instead of DVA or Hero?”
“He was available, and I think I have a date with his captain next week.”
“Are you at least going to get fixed up the rest of the way?” A note of genuine worry had crept in through the exasperation, and Linda responded by giving her friend a genuine smile.
“Three healers are all in agreement, jacking my power up as much as I did is making it really hard to finish healing me. It needs a week or so to settle down and then I'll get it taken care of.”
“Wait, jacking your power up HOW MUCH?” Sally winced as her raised voice woke the baby, but a quick shout upstairs and a flash of blue and now her son was his father's problem for a few minutes. “You jack your power up by getting hurt, how badly did you mangle yourself in order to not be able to be healed?”
“Oh it wasn't that bad. One blade.”
“You're lying. I've seen you do one blade a dozen times. I've seen you do up to three, you never had a problem getting healed afterwards.” The concern had completely overridden all other emotions in the teleporter's voice. “What did you do?”
“Just one, through here.” Linda pointed to the side of her ribs as she spoke, and tried to ignore the wide-eyed look her friend shot her in response. “Got both lungs pretty good. Needed to, there was a tsunami to stop after all.”
Sally paused for a long moment before she picked the conversation back up. “So stabbing yourself through the lungs was the stupid thing, but it worked? You stopped a tsunami all by yourself?”
“And then some.” Linda tried to bite off the reply as soon as it came out, but it was too late.
“And WHAT? Oh that is it, you are giving me some details right now if you know what's good for you.”
“Or what?” Linda's confident retort was met with a flash of blue light as she realized she was still sitting in the same chair, but that chair was somewhere on the side of a mountain somewhere. Then her phone rang.
“Start talking, Linda!” The sweet response from the phone drew a helpless bout of giggling from the still injured woman, delaying the start of the story further as the pain of laughter nearly sent her falling off the chair and down the mountain side.