Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Self-Taught Superheroes, Part Three

It had been fifteen minutes since we disconnected the IV, and his eyes were just now beginning to open. The police told us they hadn't taken him off the sedatives since we brought him in eight hours ago, since he was classified as "Dangerous - Potential for Non-Physical Threat." The cops are still learning how to handle supervillains, but they're learning fast.

I wasn't in the room with him; I got to stare at him through a two-way mirror, pacing back and forth fast enough to create a heavy breeze in the room. Neither was Josh; he was back at base, making sure that Susan's condition was stable and sending people out to deal with other little crises that popped up. The world doesn't stop just because one of your best friends gets sick. These days, it doesn't feel like it stops for anything.

Finally, the guy sat up and looked around. He tried to get out of bed, but the restraints stopped him cold. They were the kind we designed to handle bad guys with super-strength, since we weren't sure if he had any kind of telekinetic powers, but from the way he reacted, he wasn't any stronger than a normal person. He looked around wildly, saw my new partner, and glared at him.

"You might have some difficulties convincing me to commit suicide," Zombie Samurai said, staring back at him with milk-white eyes. "After all, I am already dead." I am supposed to be a hardened superhero, with almost nine months of experience under my belt, but I gotta tell you, that creeped me the heck out. I can only imagine what it did to the guy in the room with him.

Sure enough, he jerked around wildly in the restraints a little more, like a fox caught in a trap. Finally, he subsided and looked over at Zombie Samurai. "What do you want?" he asked.

"You know already," Zombie Samurai said. (Yeah, he's got a name. Don't care, he's a samurai who's also a zombie. I am calling them like I see them, here!) "You are an animal, with an animal's cunning. I can see it on your face; you intend to bargain your freedom for the life of your victim."

The guy smiled. I really wanted to punch that smile. "Yeah, pretty much," he said. "So are you the one who can make that decision, or do I need to talk to the chickie behind the glass?" He looked over at me. Not just at the mirror, or in my general direction, right at me. "You might as well come on out, little girl. I know you're in there."

I didn't come out. Because I'm not stupid. Instead, I pushed a button to talk to him through the intercom. "I think I'll stay in here," I said. "I'm not dead just yet, and I don't think I'd like it." I pressed the button again. "Um, no offense."

The guy pursed his lips like he'd just eaten a lemon. "I can't get into your head," he said reluctantly. "I can see it, but it's like a tape recorder moving at the wrong speed. Your leader picked the right freaks to talk to me, you and your freak buddy here."

"Then I guess you're out of luck," I responded. I realized I hadn't hit the button yet. "Then I guess you're out of luck," I repeated. "You can't do anything mental, you can't do anything physical, and your buddies are all in jail right with you. You want to make a deal, Mister...?"

"Meme," he said. "Mister Meme." He attempted a sort of vague half-bow, but the restraints kept him from doing too much. I seriously don't know how police deal with people like this every day without smacking them around. "And yes, I do. I want out. Out of the restraints, out of the crappy prison, and maybe a ticket to someplace nice with no extradition treaties. Haven't done my homework on those, though. Does Rio work? I think I'd like Rio."

"Cute." Great. Just what we needed. We were facing off against the Fighting LOLcat, and he was acting smug. "You want to make a deal, we'll bring Susan in and have you fix whatever it was you did to her and then we'll talk to the cops about maybe reducing your sentence for attempted murder."

He laughed. He actually laughed. Zombie Samurai hadn't even moved, just kept staring at him with those freaky dead eyes, but the guy was actually laughing. "You think this is still about 'Susan'?" I mentally winced--I hadn't meant to use her real name. He was a telepath, though; he probably knew already. "You're going to have to let me out soon, chickadee, I guarantee you that. You won't be able to fit them all in here for me to fix."

"What?" I asked. I knew what he meant already, but my mouth hadn't caught up with my mind.

"Memes are ideas that reproduce." He kept staring at me, that ugly little smile still on his face. "Susie girl has an idea in her head, a puzzle with 'Kill Yourself' as the only answer. And just like any good brainteaser, she's going to pass it on. You and your freak buddy are immune, but..." He chuckled. "In fact, now that I think about it? Let's extend that free pass to all my friends. Or otherwise you're going to go back home to a stack of corpses."

Zombie Samurai looked over at me. I was really glad for the two-way mirror, because I didn't have a clue what to do and it was written all over my face.



Anonymous said...

Oooh, telepathic viruses. Interesting.

I'm liking your main character, by the way--I've got a soft spot for speedsters that aren't written as complete tools, and I've hardly ever seen a female speedster anyway.

Looking forward to more.

Jukebox said...

Thanks! I'll get into it a bit more later, but her reflexes and reactions are speeded up more than her actual foot speed. She's better at bobbing, weaving, ducking, and punching repeatedly than at just plain running.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't a "a TWO-way mirror" be something that's a mirror on both sides?

Or something that you can see thru from both sides? (A.k.a, a window.)

Seems to me anything that's "two way" would be the same from both sides. And I suspect that what you wrote ain't what you meant.

(Apologies for the snark, but it is a sloppy mistake seen far too often. So I tend to bitch when it occurs.)

John Seavey said...

Going to plead "common usage" here; I agree, it's an inaccurate term for them, but it's what they're called.

Anonymous said...

Mistakenly called. "One way mirror" is correct and, while not actually conducting a study, I suspect used as often.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got another dead horse to beat over there.