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Uno and Fog: I Am Too Late

May 8, 2019

I sucked power out of everything nearby, the street lamps, the buildings and especially the cars causing some of them to stall.  I used it to fuel my speed and ran as fast as I could, weaving in and out of the traffic.  Navigating the intersections to avoid oncoming traffic.

It was fortunate that downtown is almost always snarled.  The biggest danger was a collision with someone opening a door, or some bicyclist.  The Canal Tunnel was closest and I headed for it, the wind pressing against my skin.

When I head out with The Fog, I usually wear a leather jacket, a white shirt, workman’s jeans, cyclist boots, gloves and of course my hood.  If I was the Comet, or maybe that orange woman in California that goes by Sharp Cheddar I would need something that could withstand the speeds they move at, but I’m not that fast.  The advantage of my outfit is that I blend in pretty well, the disadvantage is that I can’t wear it under the suit, and lugging around the clothes would make me look suspicious.

Which is inconvenient.  Still, the spandex look isn’t me.

The problem I was having is the shoes, Italian leather is great for the corporate office, not so great for running, especially high speed.  They don’t have a lot of traction, so I can’t make sudden turns without sliding into something, and stopping was going to be a problem.

I can feel the soles thinning as I ran, and I decided that I’m going to have “work out” clothes at the office, from now on.  The shoes are going to be garbage after this.

Reacting to some over powered endowed throwing cars around was something individuals like Luminary did.  Not me.  I’m not the type that runs toward bank robberies, or immediate threats.

Doing that led to capture, registering, monitoring, and supervision by one government agency or another, a loss of autonomy, which I didn’t want, and The Fog would never consider.  He was of the opinion that the government was always corrupt and infiltrated by a shadowy global cabal.  He never used the term illuminati, in fact he was of the opinion that “they” (and yes the scare quotes are intentional) used that term as a way of discrediting anyone that noticed them as the lunatic fringe.

I wasn’t so sure he wasn’t in fact part of the lunatic fringe in this regard, but he had been right about things before that I would have thought weren’t possible.  Regardless, I didn’t disagree with the corruption part.  Once you were registered you got all the nice perks, like a swanky headquarters, action figures, comics, publicity and public relations, but you also had a strict code of conduct, and the government could send you in somewhere, or tell you to desist.

Running headlong into a situation was also the number one way supers got killed, followed by someone with a vendetta.  The headquarters of The Cadre alone had been blown up and attacked so many times, that each time it was rebuilt in a more rural area with less potential collateral damage.  A comedian has a running gag of how many days The Cadre‘s headquarters has gone without being destroyed: Zero.

So the two of us stayed in the shadows.  Until now.

If I was fast enough and my abilities weren’t electricity based, I could just run straight across the Shatemac River.  I’m not fast enough, believe me, I tried.  I could jet out several feet before sinking.

The more important aspect of water was that I couldn’t gather power very easily when I was in it, and it tended to defuse direct uses of my power as well.  If I was on a boat, or at least partially above water I was limited somewhat.  If I was trying to manipulate it in someway, say put someone to sleep (and at risk of drowning) I could do that while in water, although if I was submerged completely this became very difficult too.   It felt like I was peering through a very dark room.

So large bodies of water were something I tended to avoid if possible.  Fortunately, it didn’t come up very often, and knowing that it posed an obstacle for me, I had spent a considerable amount of time practicing in controlled settings so that I wasn’t helpless, didn’t panic if it occurred, and had found work arounds as well.

The most obvious was not to get over large bodies of water.

So that left me with heading through the canal tunnel.  I weaved through traffic, pulling power until the lights inside dimmed along the concrete walls.  Showing up immediately after David had called me was pretty much a dead give away of who I was and I was glad that I had at least used an alias.

I just hoped he wasn’t a fanboy of Norte Corporation.  You think I am joking, but for everything that exists in the world, there are people out there that spend an inordinate amount of time learning everything there is about it. Whether its the complete history of Ronin in feudal Japan, or the history of their home town, or some strange Precambrian fungus, there are people out there, somewhere, that know everything there is to know about it, and there’s a thread on it.

I had to be more careful once I was on the other side of the tunnel, although traffic was still slow, it was moving more than before, a sudden lane change could send me slamming into the rear end of someone’s vehicle and my poor choice of shoes made that possibility considerably more likely.

I was also getting tired, despite the constant charging, the body, even one endowed with gifts, accumulates fatigue.  If that wasn’t the case, regular humans would be running around downing cola and coffee and never need to sleep.

I approached the university district, the coffee shop, Everything is Better With Rainbows, was just ahead, but I could already tell something was wrong as I slowed down my approach.  I could hear car alarms going off, and panicked screams of people and I knew James, the Looney Moon Serial Killer, had already gotten his prey.

I was down to a normal run when I saw people heading heedlessly in every direction.  A figure disregarded the front door and stepped out of the broken front window of the shop.  Shadows flickered over his form as he walked onto the sidewalk.  I could see an unconscious form over his shoulder and knew it had to be David.

I wondered how long James had been planning this, if his friendship with David had been carefully cultivated for this very purpose, or if David had simply been the victim of randomness, a meaningful final sacrifice because he had been meaningful to James.  More meaningful than his parents even.  Which would have seemed sad, if it wasn’t so sinister.

James saw me coming, it wasn’t hard, I was the only person heading in his direction and I stuck out.  He grinned wickedly at me and then flew up into the air, except it didn’t look like he was leaping up into the air and soaring away, so much as the the shadows were carrying him upward into the darkening sky.

As they started to dwindle way, I could practically hear The Fog saying “Learn to Fly” and all I could think was: I wish I could.

 

 

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