Excerpt for my latest work; We need a Hero(ine)
Right now I'm working on something that might sell. The basic premise is this; The old gods decide to give one mortal super human powers, but the plan goes awry...
The World Needs a Hero(ine)
The leaders of all of the gods met in solemn assembly to discuss the latest insult humanity had dealt them...
Yeah, right. Face it; they were pissed at humanity, and they got together to kick ass and take names. The gods of every pantheon had sent representatives, and all of them were up in arms about how mankind had shafted them.
“They took our gods and made them missiles!” Zeus snarled. “All starting with that minor goddess Nike! Then turned her into a logo for tennis shoes!”
“And turned my son into a comic book character!” Odin snarled.
“Don't get me started on what they did to Isis.” Ra commented.
“We need to bring us back to life in their minds.” Amaterasu said. “Khristos is slipping in the popularity poles. All those people shoving pamphlets in your face and asking if you're born again. Humans are ready for the more friendly version of the gods again.”
“Friendly?” Zeus asked confused. “I use to level entire cities with disasters!”
“But you were up close and personal with them.” Ra commented.
“Yeah, if they had boobs and half a mind.” A voice commented. Everyone stopped, then looked at the 'cheap seats', where about a dozen other gods sat. Not the leaders, just some who came to kibitz as it were.
“What was that Loki?” Zeus asked pleasantly. A crackling of energy was forming in his hand.
“Oh give me a break, Lightning thrower. You're better known for every skirt you flipped than anything else. And only a weak minded woman would accept a shower of gold as a suitor. Or someone into bestiality when you come after them as a bull or a swan. Let's not get started with poor Ganymede. One minute a happy shepherd, the next he's got you doing him.”
“Is it my fault he looked like a girl?” Zeus asked defensively.
“Hey, I didn't have to get the fates to change him into one, did I?” Loki shot back.
Zeus looked down, fidgeting. “Well I had to think of my image. A God being outed as a Nancy boy just didn't cut it back then.”
“What we need is a symbol of our glory days.” Amaterasu dragged the conversation back to what they had been discussing. “Something recognizable, that will draw their minds back to us.”
“He could try the golden shower again, though the meaning has changed.” Loki quipped.
“We need something else, Loki. If you can't help us, kindly leave.” Odin said.
“Beowulf is big these days.” Loki replied. “Three movies in the past decades. And even if you bitch about it, Odin, having Thor in a movie made just this year brought some to think of us again.”
“You want us to place all our hopes on a human hero?” Ra asked, aghast.
“Why not?” Loki asked. “Don't you guys understand, we older gods gave the humans something that Khristos and his father didn't?” He looked around the table at all of the blank looks. He stood, walking over and leaned on it. “With Khristos and Jehovah, what do they get? 'You have free will, but if you exercise it, you go to hell', that's what they get. And if they just follow along like sheep? Gospel music, 24/7. Some choice.”
He slapped the table. “With us humans had a chance to strive for great causes, to face great perils, to achieve greatness with their own toil! Hell, Beowulf, Jason and his Argonauts, Perseus facing Medusa and the Kraken, Odysseus fighting to get home. They remember that better than us.” He sighed. “What we need, is a new hero. A hero with all of us behind him instead of one per pantheon.”
They looked at him, then at each other. “And who will be given such power?”
“We pick the most mediocre person on the planet. Someone who is the stereotype of what Americans call Joe Blow. Someone no one would suspect of such greatness. We even let his own mind form that hero, so he is recognizable as a hero by the people.” He pulled a book from thin air. He flipped halfway through it, and began to run his finger down the page. “Here, Nick Parker.”
The book passed hand to hand. It was actually nothing more than a dictionary, but while humans joke about a word meaning someone specific, in the dictionary of the gods, it was often the truth. In the Movie Xanadu the female lead tells the man in love with her that she was a muse. When he looked it up, it gave the definition then 'do you believe me now, Sonny?'. Beside the definition of Mediocre was a picture.
In every way that men defined the term he was ordinary; lackluster black hair, brown eyes, so nondescript that he would disappear into a crowd. If his face were used for a Where's Waldo picture, no one would ever find him; even if he were the only person on the page.
“Perfect.” Amaterasu whispered. “And how do we bestow this on him?”
“Usually through history it has been done by the discovery of an item from the gods. Perseus got a shield that was a mirror, a sword immune to damage and helmet that made him invisible.” Zeus told her.
“Well we can't very well give this person such things.” Ra said. “First, unless you're in an army, most people don't wear helmets in modern times.”
“Shut up, Loki.” Ra said. “As for a shield or sword, why give him something if one of the powers we can bestow is the ability to manifest it for himself?”
“But we need that first gift.” Zeus said.
“How about a ring?” Odin said. “Alberich the dwarf in the opera Das Rheingold made a magic ring which would let its bearer rule the world, but only by someone who first renounces love.”
“Hey, wait a minute!” They looked over at Aphrodite, who until that moment, had been sitting on Thor's lap, discussing what had come up. She straightened her clothes so she was only fashionably deshabille, and stormed over to the table. “One thing heroes always face is the temptations of love.”
“Except for Alberich.”
“Shut up, Loki!” She snarled. “The Americans talk about the pursuit of happiness, and no one is happier than a man or woman pursuing sexual gratification. So we can't have that.”
“Fine, fine.” Odin said. “How about we allow him all the pursuit and capture of love he can handle, okay?”
“Fine by me.” She purred walking around the table to plunk herself in Odin's lap.
“So who gets to bell the cat as it were?” The gods looked confused, then at Loki. “An old fable by a Greek named Aesop. The mice vote to bell the cat.”
“Oh that.” Amaterasu, arguably the smartest one at the table proper murmured. “Well it was your idea-”
“Hey wait a Jotunheim minute!” Loki protested. “I've been trying to help mankind with cold fusion and how to extract hydrogen cheaply so they can stop burning fossil fuels! I've got a full dance card, here!”
“Not forever, Loki.” Odin purred as Aphrodite began wriggling around on his lap. “You just deliver the item and the proclamation.”
“But humans are dense. You all know that. Five minutes after he puts this ring, bracelet, necklace, whatever on, he's going to have questions, and I for one am not a bloody owner's manual.” Again the blank looks. “Humans get owner's manuals with devices they buy. It explains how the item works. Most of them aren't bright enough to put two and two together.” All of the gods nodded at that. They had run into human hardheadedness often in the past.
“Wait, humans made a movie about Perseus-” Zeus began.
“Clash of the Titans. Two versions, one in 1981, the other in 2010.” Loki cringed back at the glares at his interruption, then rallied. “When Perseus in the earlier version lost the helmet gifted on him by Athena, Sir Laurence Olivier, who played Zeus ordered Susan Fleetwood, who played Athena to give him her familiar, Bubo the owl. Rather than give him up, she instead had Hephaestus make a clockwork owl for the hero.”
“Damn straight.” They looked at Athena, who was standing off to the side throwing javelins at Baldur, who of course was uninjured. “I am not letting some human schlub have my favorite pet.” She reached up, rubbing the chest of her owl, who promptly bit her finger.
As she cursed, trying to get him to let go, the leading gods nodded. “Yes.” Zeus said. “I will command Hephaestus to make... What is it now, Loki?”
“Humans are working with the theory of what they call memory plastics. Something that can change it's shape with the right stimulus. Like Transformers.” Again with the blank look. “The Dwarfs have been working on it too, at my request. We can make him a plastic owl that will be a hell of a lot lighter than clockwork is.”
“Fine!” Zeus roared. “Just do it!”
As the subject of this story, I can tell you what happened when they saw their hero...
A collective 'Oops'.
A Hero is born
My name is Nick Parker. As much as I tried, I never seemed to excel at anything. I was not the jock, or the egghead, or even the nerd. I was the nonentity. I had been marked absent from class even while the teacher's gaze ran across me. After it happened a few times I grabbed a seat in the very front row of every class just to guarantee that I would make the roll call. My grades were adequate, but never that great. I entered St Swithins' Dual Academy at exactly the center of the class standing.
Oh, I wanted to be the best, but it was always outside of my grasp when I was younger. There were better students, better looking students. Girls liked Jocks for sex and eggheads for good grades, not wallflowers; if they remembered me at all it was as the guy you could always talk to who gave good advice, and never tried to cop a feel. I might as well have been the school's father confessor. So I merely became my own clique of one. and as much as I might wish to be remembered, I would have vanished from sight if the Gods hadn't chosen me for their gift.
Everything changed then. Within the first week after receiving it, I was one of the most popular students there. Everyone knew my name, and more than half wanted me in their beds. And I have those ancient gods to thank.
Gee, thanks, guys.
The day it happened I came home to find Loki standing in my room, idly running his fingers along my collection of anime. How did I know he was Loki? Because he looked exactly like Tom Hiddleston who played the role in the 2011 movie Thor. When 7-11 had the cups from the movie for Slurpees, I had wanted to get one of Thor or Sif. For some reason the local store only had Loki and the Destroyer. So I bought the Loki cup. I looked at it, stunned. The logo was still there, but the picture was missing.
“What the hell happened to my cup?” I asked.
“Sorry.” He told me. “I needed something in the room as a focus to enter, it was all you had available.” He spread his arms. “Would you mind if I change?”
“You're in my room and want to change? Into what?” I looked around. “You didn't bring any other clothes I can see.”
“Oh nothing so mundane.” As I watched he seemed to shrink in like a TV shutting off, then popped back into shape. Only now he was taller, more muscular, and had a beard and hair in a red so bright it looked like someone has set his head on fire.
I found myself on my ass back-pedaling into the door. “You know, back when we gods visited humans they would fall on their knees, or bow. Is this the new version of that?” I shook my head numbly. “Then may I ask a question?”
“If I can first.” I blurted out. He motioned his hand as if suggesting I continue. “What are you?”
“I thought that would be obvious from the form I chose at first. I am the god Loki.”
“The Norse devil.”
“So Khristos and his followers would claim. Actually I am the god of change. If the gods and I were together, I would be the one pushing evolution, and they would be claiming they made man from mud. My question is about your school. Why is a boy who has the religious leanings of leaf mold going to a Catholic Prep School?”
“My grandfather's will. He left me some money, about half a million. But only if I went to Catholic schools.”
“Ah. It makes as much sense any any other part of your life I have seen so far.”
“What do you mean about that? You've had the FBI run a background check on me?”
“I don't need the FBI. I have my own sources.” He sighed. “You have been chosen by the gods to receive a gift of great power.”
“All but Khristos and Jehovah. They have enough people talking them up. Primarily the Greek, Norse, Japanese and Egyptian pantheons.”
“But I am an atheist!”
“Oh no, you're not an atheist. No one but those Born Again idiots think more of god or gods than your average atheist, if only to find reasons to deny them. You are merely apostate.” At my blank look he sighed. “It means you might have believed, but merely ignore religion now. But that is what made you perfect for our gift. We are going to make you a hero.”
“What, a sandwich?”
He closed his eyes. “I should have read a book entitled 'dealing with dummies for dummies.” He whispered. “No, I mean like the heroes of old; Siegfried, Beowulf, Gilgamesh, Genji, Hercules.” He noticed that I recognized the last name at least. “But the form of this hero will be determined by you.”
“Why us?” He shot back. “We've either allowed or created heroes through the centuries before Khristos supplanted us. Why can't the human race do the heavy lifting for once?”
“Why a hero then?”
“Because Khristos and his father pretty much did away with the idea of man doing anything for himself. But too many out there need a hero to protect them. Not all the time, but just often enough that they do not lose hope. That we elder gods can give them.”
“Right, fine. What kind of powers are you going to give me?”
“We weren't sure what would sit best with humanity, so we allowed all of the powers of four pantheons at your beck and call.”
“You used that word before. What does it mean?”
“Pantheon.” He sighed, and rubbed his temples. “Headache?”
“Yes, a headache named Nick Parker.” He clapped his hands. “Right, Religion for Dummies. Gods are divided up into those worshiped in certain areas, and all of them within that framework are within a listing called a pantheon. All of the gods I have mentioned were from various areas; Japan, Egypt, the Germanic peoples, and Greece. The Greek gods are the best known to most.”
“Sure, they named the planets and moons after them.”
He sighed, eyes closed. Then he spoke slowly, as if to an idiot. “Actually the Romans stole the Greek gods, filed off the serial numbers, changed the names, and claimed them as their own. It was the Roman gods they named the objects in your solar system after. Let us start simply, I will try not to use words of more than two syllables. What do you know of, say, Odin?”
“He's the king of the Norse gods, has only one eye, has two ravens that are his spies, and rides an eight legged horse.”
“Ah you remembered Sleipnir, my favorite son.”
He sighed, rubbing his temples again. “When Asgard was being built, the builder was using a stallion named Svaðilfari to haul the loads. The horse was very strong, and Odin was looking at having to pay for the work by giving him his daughter Freya-”
“The most beautiful of the Goddesses.”
“You would remember her. Everyone remembers her.” Loki sighed. “Anyway, to make sure he would not complete it in time, I took the form of a mare, and lured Svaðilfari away the way only a mare can, so the builder defaulted on the contract, and the Gods got Asgard for free. But I ended up giving birth to Sleipnir.” He waved his hand. “Don't ask.”
He paced back and forth, still rubbing his head. “All of the gods within a pantheon have their own specialties and powers. I for example am a shape-shifter, able to take any form I can imagine. Hugin and Mungin, thought and memory are the Ravens of Odin, and his spear never misses if he throws it. Freya is the goddess of magic. Remember the old line 'like trying to herd cats'? She can do it. Baldur is invulnerable-”
“Wait. Didn't Baldur get killed because you gave someone some mistletoe to throw at him?”
“Yes! But it was because the Norse gods were mortal, and becoming immortal would have caused too many problems. After I resurrected him there were no more problems with that. Now to go on; all pantheons are like that with greater and lesser gods who have their own jobs assigned by those who worship them. So just from what I have told you, you can learn what you need to learn from wherever in the world by merely sending your thoughts in that direction...” He glared at me. “And if we find out you're peeking into the girl's showers at school one of us will come back down and thump you! These are to make humanity's life better; not to let you see girls undressed. To go on, you will be able to change form, be invulnerable to most attacks, and will be able to do magic in time. Other pantheons have additional powers as you will discover.”
He opened his hand, and a wide gold ring sat on it. There were tiny symbols that probably represented the gods he'd mentioned. “This is the key to all this power. Once you put it on, and change into the hero for the first time, it cannot be removed. It will be sealed to you alone as will the new form. If there is danger near by it will glow and pinch your finger, so unless you wish the people near you to know what you are, be sure to hide until the transformation is complete. Once you are transformed into your new body, you may call on any power of the gods, and it will be yours.”
I looked at it, then gingerly lifted it from his hand. It must have been pure gold. It was heavy. I started to put it on my left ring finger, but he stopped me. “If you wear it there, everyone will think you're married. Unlike a man cheating on his wife, you cannot remove it.” I slid it on my right ring finger instead.
“All right, what do I do?”
“Stand up, say 'I accept this gift of the gods', promise to use it to protect people everywhere with their help, and transform into your new form.”
“Okay.” I stood. “I accept this gift of the gods. I will always protect people anywhere with this divine help.” Nothing happened. “What's wrong?”
“With all of your newly bestowed powers, you must concentrate on becoming that power.”
“Oh.” I closed my eyes. Godlike powers, helping the people wherever I can. I felt a tingling all along my body.
I opened my eyes. “What's wrong?” As soon as I spoke I knew something was wrong. My voice was higher. Like a... I turned toward the mirror on my door. There was a girl my height with long flowing red hair to her waist, in a St Swithins' Girl's School uniform of neat white blouse and a plaid skirt. Behind me, Loki was clutching his head as if his headache had become a migraine. “Jesus Christ.” I blurted. Then I looked at Loki. “What the hell went wrong?”
“Give me a moment.” He walked over, sat in my chair, and leaned forward imitating Rodin's Thinker. While he was busy, I looked at myself in dawning horror. Frantically I reach down, lifting the skirt, and checked exactly what you would expect a guy to check if this happened to him. I've got- and I've got- and I don't have- I was in shock. My hands reached up, bouncing what was on my chest now. A bit bigger than the girls at school, I thought. I know the old saying 'more cushion for the pushin', but give me a break!
“What?” I spun around.
He was back at my anime collection. “Japanese Animation. Most of the male heroes run around as Samurai, martial artists, ship's captains or wearing some kind of battle armor or manning giant robots. But the ones who can control magic, and have magical weapons are almost always women. That explains it.” He turned to look at me. “If you'd been more into live action hero movies, or American Animation, you could have been any comic book character you've ever seen. But you like that,” he waved at my collection, “instead. So when you transformed, you took on this appearance.” He motioned at me. “Thallia is going to love this.” He caught my blank look. “The Muse who is in charge of comedy. This will definitely be worth a laugh or two.”
“I am not laughing.” I snarled. “How do I fix it?”
“Fix it? You chose that form, we did not. Once you chose, it is what you become. It is permanent.”
“Permanent! You mean I'm a girl forever?”
“Of course not, you moron. Only when you are exercising your powers. You will change back automatically after a time when your present mission is done.”
“What do you mean, 'after a time'?”
“Think. You help a ship at sea in a storm by calming the ocean. The storm goes away, and the ship is now safe. If it stopped immediately, you'd end up in the ocean trying to figure out how to swim home.” He clapped his hands again. “So, my job is done-”
“Wait a damn minute! I'm not in danger right now, why do I still look like this?”
“Because you're upset, and to a human that makes them defensive. So once you've calmed down, you'll change back.”
“And how am I going to know what I can do? What I know about the gods, whatever gods, is bupkas!”
He sighed. “We are sending a bird that will be able to explain the basics, but as for all you can do, I suggest that you study the gods as if it were a final exam with a pass-fail requirement. Because it is.” With that he waved his hand, and vanished.
Ah, Mach. This is fantastic! I laughed, I frowned, I exasperated, I laughed some more.... It was a joyous reading!
I want to read more! There is a demand, now, so supply! :D
I don't know how long I dithered. I kept coming back to the mirror, and she kept looking out at me. I was just glad this was not completely from an anime; that body would have caused me to have a nose bleed; what they use to show increased blood pressure from sexual tension in boys. Man I looked hot. Finally I lay on the bed, and somewhere in that time I fell asleep.
I woke up suddenly, and noticed that I was still in my clothes, but had also returned to normal. It was early, but I showered and got dressed to go to school. It was all a dream. Loki, the ring, turning into...that. Geeze, if I knew what I ate that caused it I could make a mint selling it!
I went downstairs, ate breakfast, and left the house heading for the bus stop with my briefcase in hand. It was a warm late spring day, and I sighed in contentment. All I needed to make this part of my life complete was to have a girlfriend...
Yeah right. I was like Cameron the friend of Ferris Bueller. Like the title character said in the movie, The first girl whose pants I got into would probably be the one I married, and she's going to treat me like dirt.
Then what I dreamed of having for a girlfriend came out of a door further down, and I paused in silent appreciation. Heather Wayne. Blond with hair that reached her waist, eyes as deep blue as the Black Sea, a supple figure toned from daily exercise, with muscles rippling beneath that taut delectable skin. At our school there are girls that the guys would die to date, or at least dreamed of having hot monkey sex with, and she was one of them.
She looked up, seeing me standing there. “Oh, hello...” She looked at me curiously.
“Oh, that's right, Nick.” She looked at the sky. “It's a beautiful day, isn't it?”
“Yeah. Fine day.” I took the bull by the horns. “Want to ride the bus together?”
“Sure.” we walked side by side. I wanted to take her hand, but if she didn't remember me from school why would she allow that? We reached the stop, and I checked my watch. About fifteen minutes. I told her that and she nodded absently.
“I didn't know you lived that close to me. My, what a nice ring.”
I looked down, and froze in shock. The ring from that nightmare was on my right hand!
“What do the symbols on it mean?” she bent to look more closely.
“Representations of some of the gods of other religions.”
“Ah.” As she looked away, I felt a pinching on my finger, and the ring began to glow.
Damn! If there is danger near by it will glow and pinch your finger. I was about to change! “Uh, I forgot something.”
“What?” She looked at me confused.
“I forgot. One of my library books is overdue! I have to run back and get it.”
“Oh.” I was already running so I just heard it as I ducked into the alley halfway back. I could feel my skin tingling, and I skidded to a stop.
I was in female form. But why? Maybe I could head to school, pretend to her that I was a new student. I walked back to the street, and turned.
A man was standing with her, and I could see his hand holding her arm in a tight grip. Somehow I knew his other hand held a gun. He started dragging her away.
“Stop!” I took off like an arrow, running toward them. The man froze, then he raised the gun. It fired, and I instinctively reached out ahead of me. Then I was flipping in mid air like someone had used a judo throw on me to land on my ass. My hand felt like I had caught a baseball barehanded, and I shook it as I opened it. The bullet he had fired fell from my hand.
He looked at the bullet, then at me, now stalking toward him, and ran for it. Heather looked at me, and I saw admiration in her eyes. She ran toward me, hugging me. “Thank god you were here! He was going to kidnap me!”
“I saw that.”
She pulled back, blushing. “I don't even know your name so I can thank you properly.”
Hell, I was blushing. That body hugging mine! I was in heaven until what she said clicked. Know my name? I looked down. Crap! I was still a woman!
“That's not important.” I told her.
“Yes it is. Please-”
“No. I'm late for school. Gotta run!” I took off running. If only I could fly... As I had the thought, I felt something buzzing near my feet and beside my ears. Then I lifted off the ground.
Remember the old TV show Greatest American Hero? A guy is given a magical suit by aliens that makes him able to fly, but he can never fly right? That was me. I remembered where I had seen the wings on feet and a helmet (In this case, I found I was wearing some kind of sweat band with them attached to it), the FTD logo. The very first time I had seen it, and was told it was the Roman messenger god Mercury, I had thought it wouldn't really work; the center of gravity in the human body is about stomach level.
My thoughts at that time came rushing back, because in this body the center was quite a bit higher with those D cup honeys on my chest. So my feet were going up, but my head was below them, trying to support all that superstructure. If that wasn't bad enough, every time I turned my head trying to find someplace to land, I shifted course like a demented hummingbird. I was flailing around like an idiot, bouncing off walls of buildings, and at one point flew right through a billboard.
I finally remembered the usual flying scene you would see in the comics, desperately thrusting one arm forward, bending the knee so one leg is thrust back. Immediately I had more control. I could adjust the bent leg up and down to allow my body to be level, and if I angled it further toward the other leg I could climb. I was using my eyes to look rather than turning my head so I was on a straight line course now.
Of course, this is not happening in a completely barren landscape. I'm dodging between buildings, hundreds of people looking up in amazement; and at one point, being pursued by a TV news helicopter. I found I could out run the helicopter, which was good for when I landed. I was actually feeling cocky. That's when it happened.
A window washer on one of those sliding scaffolds they use turned to watch me, and slipped, falling over the edge. Quick as a flash, I dived, and caught him. Bad idea. I remembered the center of gravity when his weight flipped me over on my back, now flying backwards. I went through a plate glass window, slamming through an office and screaming people until I skidded to a stop, legs splayed out like a stripper on a pole with him in my lap. I dumped the guy onto the floor, leaped to my feet, ran to the window, and flew back out before anyone could stop me.
Right. I was going to get to school- no near school and find someplace to hide until I changed back.
Getting some answers
There was a park nearby the school, that had restrooms, and I landed in it, running to the building. I ran inside, made sure no one was with me, then concentrated on slowing my pulse, and thinking, everything's cool. No danger, no worries. I opened my eyes, and saw my own face. Then my heart leaped as the door opened with a mother bringing her daughter in. I blushed, looking down, and sidled past them.
“You!” I froze, my head turning like a character in a horror movie realizing that the monster is behind them. The woman glared at me, pointing toward the floor. I turned further. Somehow my briefcase had come along with me, and she pointed at it. “You forgot something.”
“Yes ma'am, sorry, ma'am.” I sidled back, picked it up, and ran like hell.
Behind me I heard the girl say, “mama, why was he in the girl's bathroom?” Thankfully I didn't hear her reply. I was sure my face was glow in the dark red as it was. It was only about two blocks to the school, and I made it at a fast jog.
Have you ever noticed how much really weird crap happens because someone can't admit that society has changed? Cecil Rhodes starting what they now call the Rhodes Scholars by endowing young men to travel to other countries to study providing they keep it in their pants? It wasn't until later they admitted he was a flaming queen who thought sex with women was disgusting.
My school is a perfect example. St Swithin's Dual Preparatory Academy was started around the turn of the 20th century, and began because of a young Naval officer who went with Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry to force Japan to open their doors to the World in 1854. As a captain after the War between the States, he had commanded a steam sloop that went again to Japan delivering weapons the Japanese Army had bought in 1875, and while there had seen the most interesting school.
As much as we accept women as college graduates today, it wasn't always that way here in the States. Back in the century before last, a woman's school, even what we would call a college now, taught the 'womanly' arts; home economics, handling household accounts, along with deportment and acting like a lady. Most of the colleges are linked to men's colleges by affiliation, which is why the women of the one college end up marrying the guys from that men's college.
In Japan it was worse, because while women would learn to read and write, and compose Haiku, they weren't expected to do much of anything else. Someone had found a way to teach the girls more by attaching the girl's school to the boys; but still kept them segregated. So you had a series of building separated by a wall, with the girls learning on one side, the boys on the other.
That Naval officer retired not long after that last trip, and had been lucky through his life in the commodities exchange and investments. When he died, he left his money to fund a prep school that would teach the young to ready them for college, but since he thought co-educational schools were hotbeds of debauchery, they would be segregated. By giving the money to the Catholic church with that condition (Already a leader in sexual repression), he got his wish. The school was founded in 1900.
St Swithin's Dual Preparatory Academy is a school, but at the same time it is two schools. It stood on a huge plot of land with both schools butted up against each other. There are six gates, three into each wall enclosure. Every facility you might imagine was duplicated; classrooms, gym, cafeteria, pool, you name it.
Other people just as whacked as that founder had poured money into it, and except for the Library, which was begun in 1915 and renovated in 1970, it is a series of three story buildings that have been built since then. It is the only place on the entire campus where boys and girls mingle. It is also watched over by a special breed of nun who think sex is a filthy three letter word no child (Read any student) should even know, let alone contemplate.
The only direct access between the two campuses is that library building and the Admin offices. There's a wall that always reminded me of the old Berlin Wall between them; with sex rather than ideology as the only reason it exists. Everything they could do to make sure students weren't peering lustfully at each other was done. When they decided to put in pools in 1919, they built them where you couldn't see it from the other side of the wall, even if bathing suits of the early 20th century were pretty much short dresses for girls and Long Johns for boys.
Over each gate on an arching metal structure is the school motto:
libido ante matrimonium? Obliviscaris circa illam!
Literally; Sex Before Marriage? Forget About It!
That day started pretty quietly. But at lunch the Media storm caught us up as well. First was the news that some girl with super powers was flying around the city. They had shots of me from that damned TV helicopter. Of me catching the falling man, then interviews of the office workers. Luckily all you could tell from the chopper was that I was in a school uniform of some kind, with bright red hair.
I remembered the scene from the movie Star Trek: The Voyage Home that day. Kirk reacting to seeing Spock doing a mind meld with Gracie the Whale as the professor natters on. Everyone was talking about 'Her', with me listening in.
I was concentrating on what I didn't know rather than what I did. I needed to know more about the gods, because I had worked out that it was thanks to Baldur's invulnerability that I had been able to catch the bullet rather than being killed, and it was Mercury's accoutrements (What was that Greek God's name?) was how I had flown. But if I was going to do what the gods had chosen for me to do, I'd have to know a hell of a lot more. I didn't belong to any clubs; for some reason if I applied, they would forget that I had unless I got in someone's face. So after the last class, I headed to the library.
Even here they were talking about the super girl. I got past the first tittering crowd of girls to the computer access terminal. No internet access, just the catalog. I put in the word god. Yeah, right, it was stupid, I admit it, all right? I tried Mercury, and got listings for the planets, and for the periodic table of elements. I tried Baldur and found zip. After trying half a dozen gods by name, I was still hung up.
Well, when in doubt, ask a librarian. I headed to the reference desk. A girl with her black hair back in a pony tail was there reading, instead of one of the Dragon-nuns. I stood patiently until she finally noticed me. “May I help you?”
“Maybe. Is there a section with gods of other religions?”
She put down her book, and marked her place. Then folded her hands demurely. “Yes, but they are in the restricted section. After all, this is a Catholic school.”
“But I'm not a Catholic.”
“Be that as it may, only librarians are allowed access to the section.” She started to pick up her book again.
“Aw, come on, please?” I wheedled. She looked at me, and for a moment her mouth quirked as if she were going to smile. Then she stood. I followed her down the shelves to a section marked restricted. She took out a key, and opened the gate, ushering me inside before locking it behind us.
“Which pantheon did you need? A pantheon-”
“I had the word explained to me just yesterday. But thanks for the attempt.” I looked at the dusty books. “The Egyptians, the Japanese, the Greeks, and the Germanic tribes.”
“You mean the Norse.” She tapped her face, looking down the shelves, then again began walking with me tagging along. She paused at a shelf, and pointed upward. “The Norse are up there, but they don't have a ladder or step-stool in this section. You will have to get it down for me.”
“You're very kind.” I noticed her blushing. “Which shelf?”
“The sixth.” I looked up. There were a lot of books on it, and she directed me to the book. The books were packed tight. I hooked the top of the book, and tried to pull it out, but all the time it had sat there unused caused a lot of friction. I cursed under my breath and pulled hard. Five books fell, and I instinctively curled over her to protect her as they fell on us.
I ended up on my hands and knees still covering her. But she wasn't looking at me. Her eyes were closed, and she was breathing heavily. Her hands caught at my shoulders, and she gave a moan that sounded like she was aroused. “Oh, you're... you're going to do that here!” Her body surged upward, her knees rising as if I were-
I looked down. One of the books had bounced and landed between her legs, the spine pushing up against her panties. She was lifting into it as if it were something a little more personal. “Now hold it-”
“Oh! I'm a virgin! I can't just, just hold it.” If anything she was getting more into it, her thighs locked on the book. “You can't make me... touch you.”
“Look, it's not what you think.” I tried to think of something to break through her fantasy. “I'm Nick Parker. What's your name?”
“Oh god! I'm finally going to do... that, and you don't even know my name!” She blushed again, and her thighs clamped down harder. “What a situation for a poor virgin girl to be in! What must you think of me?”
“At least tell me your name!” I asked desperately.
“Janice.” She breathed. She wasn't as big on top as I was in girl mode, but she heaved a lot more as she moaned and gasped. “Janice Keel. Please... be gentle.”
Someone coughed, and her eyes snapped open. She sat up as I looked over my shoulder at the Nun from hell. “Care to explain?” She asked coldly.
I leaped to my feet, seeing Janice climbing up and dusting off her skirt as she blushed. “I was helping her get down a book, and they fell on us, so I tried to make sure she wouldn't be hurt.”
“So in return for his saving you from harm, you offered him your virtue?” The Nun finished.
“Yes ma'am. I mean... no ma'am.” She was flustered.
The nun sighed. “You, leave.” She pointed at me, and hooked her thumb like an umpire calling the player out. I slid past her as she turned on the poor girl. Somehow I made it outside without being yelled at, and stopped outside the door into the boy's side, grasping my chest and breathing heavily. I'd have to go to the local library instead. At least I wouldn't have to deal with Monster Nuns and sexually repressed librarians with fantasies.
I went to my locker, and dropped off the books I wouldn't need for my homework, then headed toward the North gate and home. A few of the friends I did have wanted me to stop and talk about the super girl, and I kept getting dragged into the conversations and having to push my way through. I reached the gate, and turned left toward the bus stop. I walked down to the pedestrian cross walk, and as I reached it, a tentative hand tapped my shoulder.
Janice stood there, blushing at my attention. “Oh, sorry about leaving you in the lurch like that, Janice.”
“It's all right. She was just upset when she thought we were...” She blushed even deeper, if that were possible. She opened her book bag, and offered me a volume. It was the book on the Norse gods. “I thought you wanted to read this?” She asked the question hopefully, as if hoping for a lot more than reading.
“Thank you.” I took it, and slipped it into my briefcase. “You're a life saver.”
“It's all right.” A deeper blush. “I can get the other books out one by one as you need.”
“You're an angel.” She looked away, and the flush that had been dying roared back onto her face.
“You're too kind.”
Someone cleared their throat, and we turned. Heather was standing there. “Excuse me, Janice, I need to ask Nick a question.”
“Oh, you're...” She looked stricken. “I'll just go then.” She trudged dejectedly away. I watched her, confused. One minute a desperate sex kitten, the next a wallflower. What was it with her? Then I turned to Heather.
“Nick, I need your help.”
“My help?” I asked. What could I do for her that any other man in the campus would not do?
“There's someone I'm interested in. I just can't get them out of my head!” She gave a startled laugh, blushing. “I really would like to meet that someone again, and I was wondering if you knew them.”
I was excited, but confused. How would I know this unnamed person?
“She saved me from being kidnapped from the bus stop after you left, and she came out of the same alley you ducked into, so you at least saw her.”
“Please.” She clutched her book bag to her chest. “If you know who she is, could you introduce us?”
“Uh, yeah, sure. If I ever see her again, I'll let her know.”
She brightened up, then impulsively kissed me on the cheek. “Thanks, Nick. I owe you one!” Then she was gone, running across the street to the bus stop.
Haha, what a predicament. Poor Nick.
And Janice! Hell, if I knew Catholic girls were like that I would've went to the library more often! :P
There's a Red Hot Chili Pepper song called, 'Catholic School Girls Rule,'. Now I finally know what it is about, ha!
Another cool chapter. Funny how it happens to Nick in the worst times! Will be entertaining to read more of his (mis?)adventures!
cinsidering what's happening, shouldn't it be miss-adventures? Next chapter up later
Confrontation and realization
I stood there, watching the bus come and go. I was a mass of confusion. First a girl with sexual fantasies fixated on me, now a girl I dreamed of dating who thought I would know my female half! When it rains it pours. On top of that, I missed my bus!
I started walking. Maybe I could-
“You two timing bastard!” I spun around to stare at a girl standing in the center of the street. She had long black hair, and was in one of our school uniforms, but I didn't recognize her. All I knew was she was staring at me as if I were something disgusting on her shoe. She was glaring at me with such hate I wondered what had I done to piss her off this much.
Then I felt the ring pinching as her hair suddenly flared out as if a hurricane wind blowing from me to her had caught it. I brought my arms up protectively as her arm rose, and something slammed me into and through the wall into the school again. A neat trick, those walls would stop anything smaller than an armored personnel vehicle!
I rolled; then found myself in the middle of the girl's track, crouched defensively, and in girl form. Lucky for me I changed so rapidly; I would have been a paste on that wall otherwise. She still stood in the street, though I could only see her outline through the haze of dust caused by my passage. She stalked forward, and I dropped my book bag to get ready. She waved, and a section of the wall around my outline crumbled to dust to allow her to walk past it. She stopped when she saw me, then looked left and right. “Where is that lowlife?” She snarled.
“Who?” I asked.
“The bastard that went through the wall! I'm going to rip off his balls and feed them to him!”
“What did he do to you?” I asked.
Her head stopped moving, then turned slowly to look at me. I was uncomfortably reminded of the turret of a battleship locking on target. “That doesn't concern you, unless he's important to you.” She flicked her fingers, and I was suddenly flying backwards, and slammed into the opposite exterior wall about two hundred yards from where I had been standing.
I pulled myself from the depression my body had made. I took off running toward her. She merely smiled, and reached out, closing her hand. Something like a giant hand caught me, then she raised her hand and mimed throwing a baseball. The next instant I was flying for the horizon spinning.
Right, no more mist- Ms Nice Guy. I moved my arms, and came out of the spin. Maybe I was learning, it came almost automatically. I kept flying the same direction she had thrown me as I went into a climb. How fast could I go?
I went through the cloud cover, going into a looping turn, headed back down. My arms came back, mimicking the swing wings on an F 14 Tomcat. I felt a shudder but it stopped. I saw the school racing toward me. She was standing there as if she didn't believe it.
I arched up, passing about five feet over her head, then up into another turn. I slowed down, and came back at a slower pace. Every window in the school had been shattered, and she was crumpled against the wall. I didn't know how fast I was going, but I understood why supersonic planes don't go full speed this close to the ground.
She stirred, then came to her feet, shaking her head. I landed in front of her. “What's you're problem? What did he, or I do to deserve this crap?”
“You came between him and Janice!” She screamed. “The first guy to even talk to her, and you got in the way!”
“How could I have gotten in the way?”
“She is such a shy girl. She works in the library because she wants to meet guys, and is afraid of it at the same time. So she wanted to find someone who likes her. And you and that... floozy had to get in the way.”
“We're not in the way! Or at least I am not. And what does Janice have to do with this? What is she to you?”
“I am Janice!” She screamed.
I stared at her. “Yet you're talking about her in the third person.”
“Because I am the part of her that tries to help her get what she needs in life! She needs someone to love her.” She glared at me. “And you're trying to steal Nick away!”
“I wouldn't steal him away from her! Hell, I can't steal him away from her!”
“Why not?” She shrieked, hands coming up to aim at me again.
“Be cause I am Nick you stupid cow!”
She stared at me. “Pull the other one.”
“I swear by whatever god you care to name that I am Nick Parker.”
She stalked toward me, glaring into my eyes. Then she looked down. “I am sorry I bothered you.” She walked away.
“Hey.” She stopped, then turned her head. “You blew me through a wall, tried to throw me halfway across the city, and don't even give me your name?”
“No, I know you're some kind of twisted dual personality, that much I figured out. But from most stories I have heard, you have to have a name of your own.”
“Janus, you dork. The Roman God of beginnings, ends, gates, doors, time and transitions. It sounds the same as her name. That was why I chose it.” She explained as if to an idiot. “Okay?”
“Sorry.” I leaped to my briefcase, picked it up, then leaped to her side back in guy form. “Maybe we can sit down, have some coffee, and we can try to arrange her love life.”
“Without asking her?”
“Did you ask her when you decided to blow me away, in both forms?”
“No. It doesn't work that way. I can see what she does, and hear it. Even hear her thoughts. But she doesn't hear mine.”
“Are you sure?”
She gave me a wicked grin. “If she heard, she wouldn't be a virgin.”
“She feels some of it, I know that.”
“When the books fell, and one bounced between her legs, you were wishing it was something else.” I wiggled my eyebrows, and she blushed. “Come on, let's see what we can do about her love life.” I stuck out my hand, and she shook it.
That afternoon was weird. Janus and I went to Starbucks, and we talked over what Janice would like. I realized that the shy girl was the female mirror of me; too shy to put herself forward, unwilling to admit that she was attractive. Janus explained that she had 'come out' the year before. Janice had helped one of the boys, a Jock named Ted Bramson by writing a report for him. I knew Ted, he was an putz. Then I remembered right before summer vacation, he had boasted about how some stupid girl in the library had written the report he got an A on.
Only now did I remember that Janice, whom I had seen but didn't yet know, had been walking past where the jocks were sitting, and must have heard him. That afternoon he had gone out to the parking lot across from the school and freaked out. His old 72 LTD had been smashed as if by a trash compacter. Or, I thought; perhaps, someone with telekinetic power just picking it up and squeezing it like a beer can into a crumpled mass. He was lucky Janus hadn't decided to play hardball until she met me.
We had decided that we wouldn't tell Janice about her until later, and were considering having another coffee, when I heard something odd. It sounded like a movie version of orders being passed to a pilot in the air:
Blazer one, target is four hundred miles on your nose, flying course 025, speed 500 knots. You are ordered to close to one hundred miles. If they have not altered course away, you are to splash them.
“Nick? Are you listening?” I raised my hand. This was important, I knew that.
Understood, command. Close to one hundred miles.
Range now three eight zero miles.
I found myself on the sidewalk, looking south. Janus was looking worried.
“I have something to do, Janus. I ended up like this because some group of gods decided man needed heroes again. And right now, they need a hero that way,” I pointed south, “about 1100 miles from here.” I leaped into the air.
I didn't know how fast I had been when I buzzed Janus. Supersonic, I know. But nothing can fly will fly over a thousand miles in so short a time. At least nothing I could think of. If only I could travel that distance in an instant.
An instant later I saw a flash of light in front of me. Instinctively I dived. It was good thing I did; as I saw what looked like a 767 flash overhead. I could hear the two huge engines scream past, and was climbing up to loop back. I could see the airline logo, it was flying to Miami from Caracas. At least, that is where it was supposed to be going. I could hear people murmuring in fear, hear the snarls of the hijackers. I could also hear someone boasting on the radio; they were going to attack the White House; level the building, prove they could attack where and when they wanted. The only way the US could stop them would be to shoot down the plane and kill the passengers themselves.
The problem was; the Americans were quite willing to kill them if necessary; but I knew it was only to save others. Not that the world would accept that. I could also hear the same cockpit chatter from the fighters coming at this very plane.
Range now two hundred fifty miles.
I had to get aboard, take care of the hijackers, and save these people. Can I walk through walls? I wondered. I flew up behind the aircraft, swinging my hand, which passed through the rudder in the tail. I grinned, then dropped down even with the fuselage, and sped up. I ghosted through the skin of the plane, then through two stewardesses. There was a man with a pistol, and I phased back to normal long enough to punch him off his feet. Then I landed and was running forward. There were three others, I knew it. One turned, raising his pistol, and I caught the weapon, the barrel and cylinder shattering as I hit him.
The third one turned, and the stewardess who had been pouring champagne for a passenger turned and clubbed him down with the bottle. “The other one has a bomb!” She screamed.
I phased, flashing through the cockpit door. The terrorist there turned, shocked, and his hand flashed to the handle strapped to his side. I hit him and phased, taking him with me through the skin of the plane into the air. He pressed the dead man switch and grinned at me, then the grin faltered as I phased back in, let him go, then phased out as he blew up.
I flew back up, phasing through the skin into the cockpit. The flight crew was dead. The plane was on autopilot. I checked the system. Not only autopilot, but auto navigation as well. I found the Jeppson book and found the code. Reagan Airport. Across the river from D.C.
I went back to the passenger cabin. The stewardess had tied up the the guy she had clubbed, and the passengers had tied up the others. “They killed the flight crew.” I whispered to the woman. “They've set the auto navigation system for Reagan International.”
“Oh god. We're trapped!”
“Not if I can help it.” I snarled. “Get on the radio, contact Air traffic control. Tell them the terrorists are down or dead.”
I looked at the floor beneath my feet. “But what are you going to do?”
I grinned. “I'm going to stop the Air Force from shooting us down.” Then I dived through the floor. I dropped until I was about a thousand feet below them, going to supersonic. I could hear the voices.
Traffic control this is Esmeralda Lopez, chief stewardess. The terrorists are captured or dead. Some woman with magical powers subdued the terrorists. Please, direct us in retaking control; they have set our auto navigation system to direct us to Reagan International!
Flight 1121, until we are sure, we cannot allow you to land. Turn to return to Caracas.
Control, we are past the point of no return for Caracas. We must have clearance to land somewhere north of there. Please, there are no active terrorists remaining.
I could see two aircraft approaching from ahead. I could hear them receiving orders. We were now only one hundred thirty miles from the US territorial limit. I whispered. “Blazer One, this is... This is Nikki Parker. Abort your attack, I say again, abort your attack.”
“Unknown station, clear this channel at once.”
“Blazer one, if you do not abort, I will be required to use force.”
“Blazer One, take your shot.” Another voice ordered.
I visualized a shield, but one large enough to cover not only myself, but the airplane behind me. I saw a flash of a rocket engine, and an Amraam missile leaped from the weapons bay of the F22. It hit the shield and shattered.
“Control, my missile hit something. An invisible field. It didn't even have time to explode!”
“Blazer one, that was me.” I told him. “Escort, but do not fire. All we need is a runway.”
“Blazer one, go to guns.”
“Control, this is Nikki Parker. I have already warned the pilots. I will use whatever force is necessary to stop them. Please, do not risk their lives.”
“Whoever this is, get off this channel!”
“Listen, you moron. I am not going to let you kill a couple of hundred people because you won't listen. The Gods didn't make me a hero just to let them die if I can stop it.”
“Blazer one, you will complete your mission.”
Fine. I flew under Blazer one at high Mach speed. He spun out as the shock wave of my passage flamed out his engines.
“Mayday, mayday, this is Blazer one. Something just shot past me at Mach five! Engines flamed out, going in!”
I flipped into a turn, and caught the plane from below like Iron Man did in the first movie. “Calm down, Blazer one, I am stabilizing your descent. Restart your engines.”
“Who the hell is this?”
“I told you, Nikki Parker. Just take a deep breath, and restart.”
I felt the plane shudder. “Two good spools.”
“Have you got control again?” He said he did. “Good. I'm letting you go. But if you come back, I will let the plane crash; even if it means my parents have to help pay for another 150 million dollar plane.” I dropped away, coming up to his starboard side. I gave him a jaunty salute.
“Control, whoever that is, she caused me to flame out, arrested my fall until I could restart the engines, then told me she'd crash it next time if I didn't abort the attack.”
“Did you get a look at her aircraft Captain?”
There was a long pause. “Sir, she was flying without an aircraft less than thirty meters from my cockpit.”
Another even longer pause. “You will report from drug test immediately on landing, Captain.”
I flew back to the airliner. I flew into the cockpit, causing Ms Lopez to shriek. “Calm down, ma'am.” I told her. I took the copilot's headset from his body. “Ground control, this is Nikki Parker. We have a thirsty bird up here, and she can fly to Reagan or wherever you direct up north. But she cannot turn around and fly back to where she came from. Someone down there had better get on the ball, or I'll bring her down and set her down on the President's lawn as a tourist attraction.”
“Flight 1121, you are refused access to any American airport.”
“Fine.” I closed my eyes. We were about fifty miles south of Puerto Rico. “Control, I am closing out our flight plan at Mercedita International, Ponce, Puerto Rico.”
“Negative, negative. The runway is only 8800 feet. It is not long enough for a proper landing of your aircraft.”
“Well that means I'll have to make it work.” I opened the Jeppson, and entered the code for the airport. The system bleeped, then changed course to 355. “Mercedita International, this is flight 1121 heavy, a 767 aircraft inbound for your airport. We are declaring an emergency at this time.”
“Flight 1121, this field is not designed to accept heavy aircraft. Please head further north to San Juan.”
“Negative. Everyone seems to think they have terrorists aboard, I have to convince them I am serious when I say they are captured. We'll use your runway.”
“Negative, the runway is 2000 feet too short to land.”
“Then you're about due for it to be lengthened. 1121 clear except for when we are on final approach. Senora Lopez will be flying, so give her the instructions when she calls back.-” I set the headset down. “Just set the auto landing sequence when the system tells you that you are close to the airfield. I'm going to have to go back outside.”
Lopez was staring at me as if I were mad. “Outside?”
“Well if the runway is too short, we can't have you running off it into traffic or buildings, can we? So I'll have to help you stop.” I winked at her, then stood and walked directly through the windshield. As I was phased, the wind didn't bother me. She stared wide eyed as I walked down the nose of the plane. I could see Puerto Rico ahead, and felt the plane begin it's descent.
I turned, doing a handstand on the nose, then as the gear came down, I phased back in, feeling the wind slam into me as the plane slowed. I could feel my skirt blowing up so that my panties were exposed, and saw the flarepath of the runway race past me through all of that hair. I felt the wheels hit, and gently created another shield covering the entire plane as I began pushing back against it. The plane slowed rapidly, and I felt it begin to brake. It slowed as the airport building flashed past us, then I pushed harder, making it slow even faster. Emergency vehicles raced toward us as we stopped 500 feet from the end of the runway.
I floated in midair, patting the nose of the plane. Then I lifted up. I waved to Lopez, who waved back, unsure this had really happened. As the first armed soldiers poured out of the jeeps that had followed the emergency vehicles, I arched straight up, then aimed for home. Though I didn't know how I had made an 1100 mile leap, it was simple to just return home. I dropped down outside my house, then ran inside.
I think Nick is getting more confident in this female form, oddly enough, haha. I suppose I would too if I had super powers :P
"No more Ms Nice Guy!" Ha! Classic!
I'm really liking this, Mach. Just the read I need after a crappy day of work! Cheers!
Advice from an Unlikely Source
I leaned against the door, gasping. I felt exhilarated. I was still working out what I could do, but I'd saved that plane load of passengers. For someone still feeling their way, that wasn't too shabby. I trotted up the stairs, tossed my briefcase on the bed, and thought about a shower.
“Whoo! Nice ass, baby.” I spun around. I was alone in the room. Who the hell! “And the milk bags are great too.”
“Who is that? Where are you?”
“On the book shelf, chickie.” I looked at it. The top shelf had a series of Anime statues, a bird- a bird? It looked like a raven, but made of some translucent plastic. As I watched it stretched it's wings wide.
“What are you, for that matter, who are you?”
“What I am is a representation of a raven, as anyone who actually looks at birds would figure out. I am what you would call the owner's manual for the ring. They were going to send you a metal owl like in the old Clash of the Titans movie, but Loki suggested that since Ravens can talk just like parrots, they make me to look like one of Odin's birds. He even gave me my name.”
I rubbed my forehead. “Probably 'Quoth' like the one in Terry Pratchett's work.” I mumbled. “Well spill it. What's your name?”
“You're psychic too?” It asked in an amazed tone.
“What do you mean?” I glared at it.
“He was remembering Edgar Allen Poe. 'Quoth the raven, nevermore'.”
“I'm being advised by a wise ass plastic bird, sent by a wise ass god. Someone just shoot me.” I moaned.
“Hey, I could have been a ten pound metal owl that didn't talk instead.” It protested. “Be thankful for small favors.”
“Having you talk is a favor? Gee thanks, Loki.”
“Haven't you ever seen the Original Clash of the Titans?” It asked. “The owl just chirps and clicks, and Perseus automatically understands. Isn't it better that I actually speak English? You'd bitch if they hung you with a new rope!”
I waved at it. “All right, thanks for being able to talk. So how do I use you?”
It cocked it's head. “Let me take a wild guess; you're the kind of dweeb that throws the owner's manual away, and just tries.”
“So I'll tell you now, I can't be thrown away. I'll be here as long as you're a hero for them. As for how to use me, what you do is ask me questions, and I'll tell you the answers. That's what is called 'conversation'.”
“Great, now it's correcting my social skills.”
“If you need it, I do it.”
I just growled in frustration. “Fine, what powers do I have?”
“Well first, that book isn't going to help.” It pointed at my book bag.
“The one Janice picked out. It's the old stories from Norse Mythology. Face it, do you really need to know that Loki is Odin's blood brother? Or that Thor and Loki had more adventures than Bing Crosby and Bob Hope had Road movies? Or that Loki got Thor to dress in drag, yet the giants never caught on that a six foot seven man with a beard wasn't Freya, who by the way is only about five foot four?” The Raven shook it's head. Makes you wonder about giants, doesn't it?”
“So where should I do my research?”
“Go online, and Google Deities and Demi-Gods, first edition.”
“No, I'm not. The most recent editions cut out a lot of pantheons because the gamers weren't interested. So you lost the Japanese gods along with Celts and the Chtulu mythos and Elric's Melnibonean one.”
“Do I need the last two?”
“Nah, they're just Fantasy.”
I sighed, and sat at my computer. I found the reference Quoth had mentioned, and as it downloaded I turned back. “Why use a reference book from a game?”
“Because they treated the gods like real people you can meet in the game. So you have abilities, alignments; which you don't need to worry about, weapons they carry, and powers they use.”
“Why not alignments?”
“Because it is men judging the Gods as if they have that right. What a man sees as evil, the gods see as necessary; take Kali, who is a goddess of destruction. Nature needs something to tear down so it can renew. So think of her as the owner of a junkyard, removing usable parts from the wrecked cars, and recycling everything else. It's just that she does it with people too.”
“You know, that makes some kind of weird perverted sense.”
“Don't it just?”
“So invulnerability I got from Baldur. Flying?”
“Hermes, Greek messenger god. He can be anywhere he wants to be as fast as he wishes to be. That is where you got the ability to fly 1100 miles in less than a second.”
“How did I phase through the plane then?”
“Pretty much every god lives on what the game would call the Ethereal plane, and to someone there matter is just a bunch of loosely connected molecules. So going through solid matter is like swimming.”
“Hearing the pilots at that distance?”
“Heimdall, guardian of the Bifrost Bridge into Valhalla. He can hear everything, right down to conversations when he concentrates on it. He can also see what's happening anywhere in the world. Take that girl Heather you keep thinking about...”
Unbidden, I thought of her. How was I going to- Heather felt terror as the two men forced their way into the house. She had ordered a pizza, and like a ditz had forgotten to check the peephole. One of them was the man from this morning, the other a huge bruiser with an evil grin.
“Heather!” I felt myself change, and teleported to right outside her door, and promptly fell on my ass. I had still been in the seated position when I made the leap, and gravity had done the rest. “Note to self, stand up to teleport.” I grumbled, standing up. I marched to the door, and tried the knob. Locked. I phased through the door.
The big guy was holding Heather, one hand over her mouth to stop her from screaming. The smaller guy from this morning was pulling the cover off a needle in a syringe.
“Excuse me.” The guy turned, and went ashen as I marched toward them. I caught the big guy's wrists, and peeled him off of Heather like a bad jacket. She dropped to the floor, and scuttled backwards on her butt as I pinned both wrists with one hand. I felt something poke into my side, and looked down. The other guy had tried to stab me in the ass with the needle, but I felt the liquid run down my butt. I sighed, snagged his collar, and lifted him off his feet before looking at Heather.
“Are you all right, Heather?”
“I'm fine now, yes.” Then she looked at me, confused. “How do you know my name?”
Think! “You know a guy named Nick Parker. He told me you wanted to meet me.” She had a blank look for a moment, then was excited. I sighed inwardly. “So hi, nice t-meet yah. Could you get the door, please?” She walked around us. The smaller guy had drawn his gun, and I twisted his collar, so he would be concentrating on breathing instead. I walked them out the door. “Guys, we're going to have a little discussion about your manners, away from the nice lady.” I flipped them straight up into the air, turning to Heather. “I'll see you again later.”
As I took off like a heat seeking missile I heard her wail, 'But you still haven't told me your name!”
I caught the big guy as he passed about three hundred feet, flying upward with him to catch the smaller one as he passed eight hundred. I must have been wicked pissed at him. I stopped us around a thousand feet up, holding both by their collars. The small guy had crapped his pants in terror. “All right you guys, only one warning. You mess with her again, and I bounce you off the International Space Station.”
“The boss don't like threats.” The big guy rumbled.
“I don't care what your boss likes. Leave her alone, or there will be trouble.” We dropped slowly toward earth. Is that your car?” I asked nodding toward a late model LTD.
“Yeah, it-” The big guy screamed as I let them both go. I didn't see what his problem was, we were only about thirty feet up when I did. I considered making myself invisible, and was. This was getting to be fun. As the little guy just curled up in the dent he'd made in the car's roof, his partner drew out his cell phone. I extended my sense, and heard both sides of the conversation. As I did, I searched, finding where the 'boss' was.
I teleported, arriving above a nice house across town. A good sized lot, with a huge house on it. I dropped onto the doorstep, and leaned on the buzzer. A guy who was as much a tough as the two I'd just dealt with answered, and I was in no mood to deal with brawn that didn't have a brain. “I'm here to see the boss.”
“Make an appointment.” He started to close the door, and I stopped it with a negligent hand.
“I see him now, or every law enforcement agency sees him tomorrow morning.” I told the guy cheerfully. Then I slammed the door open, throwing him into the wall behind it.
Someone shouted, and two men came down the main stairway. I picked up the first and used him to bludgeon down the second. The man I was looking for was upstairs, and I took the stairway three at a time. Another man tried to stop me, and I threw him through the door into the office. I stepped over him.
He was in a nice suit, and had a nice house, but he was as much a thug as the guys who worked for him. I stepped over the concussed thug, and stalked over to the desk.
“My lawyers will be in contact about the damages.” He said.
“Let them.” I told him. “I'm here about your people trying to kidnap Heather Wayne.”
“I don't know what you're talking about.”
“All right, let's play it your way. Someone keeps trying to kidnap the girl, and as her friend I am delivering a word of warning.” I took the chair across from him. “We both know that such an unsavory person would be thinking about hurting or killing me; after all, thugs think with their fists, not their brains. But if you look downstairs, you will see that I am a bit stronger than you might think, and I have some...special skills which make me pretty damn hard to kill.
“But I also have other skills that would make that man's life a nightmare.” I stood tapping his computer. “Maybe I could spirit away every computer in his offices and deliver them to some cop's desk. Which cop? Does it matter? After all, they will have to access the computers to return them, right? And legally, they can use anything they find on them.” I closed my eyes, communing with the device.
“Especially if I could tell them all of the passwords on each machine, and which files to look at. Like the listing of the Colombians he deals with on a weekly basis. The money laundering at four different Offshore banks, the businesses he has his hooks into.” I grinned.”The taxes he isn't paying. Have I given you enough for this man to worry about?”
I stood. “So I'll ask you to let him know that Heather Wayne is to be left alone. I don't know why she is of interest, and frankly I don't care, but that interest will end now, today. If she is bothered by as much as a panhandler from now on, I will assume that man did not listen. The next thing he feels will be either the long arm of the law, or the depths of space if I am in a foul mood.
“I assume you have my message clear?” He nodded. “Good. I'll let myself out.” I stood. “It's been fun.” Then I teleported back to my room.
If it's not one thing, it's another
I got up the next morning, and got ready for school. I was lucky, and caught up with Heather at the bus stop, but she was deep in thought, and pretty much ignored me. We rode there silently, and when I got off, she walked toward the Girl's side still ignoring me. I saw someone wave, and returned it. Janice was smiling at me like the love of her life, and I was busy trying to think of ways to break her out of her shell. I was sure somebody on the Boy's side would like her enough to become her steady.
I was in the news again. There was film of the landing of the plane in Puerto Rico, with me leading it in ass first. Thanks to the slipstream, all they could tell was that I had red hair, oh, and blue panties. I was still a mystery, and the press was trying to figure out who I might be. At lunch everyone was talking about 'her'.
The day finally ended, and I picked up my bag, heading for the library. I thanked Janice, returning the book on the Norse Mythos, and accepted the one linked to the Egyptians. I didn't have the heart to tell her that I didn't need it; both Janus and I figured it would keep her fixated on me long enough for us to get her more experience with men. I was thinking of who to hook her up with as I turned to head for the bus stop and ran into a woman in uniform.
It was the girl every guy on the boy's side would die to date, Sova Kurkinen, Student Body President now for three years running, ever since she had come to the school. Sova was as tall as I am, with ice white blond hair, and a manner of speaking that made you think of a coldly calculating scientist. Every guy dreamed of making her show emotions, usually by inserting male part A into female B.
“You are Nick Parker.” She didn't ask; it was like if my name wasn't Nick Parker, I was going to change it.
“We need to talk.” She motioned toward the east side of the school, and I followed her. She crossed over to a small bookstore, and went in. She led me to the back of the store, then turned, crossing her arms. “I know your secret.”
“I know that it was you down in Puerto Rico yesterday. And flying around town.”
“I don't know what you mean, Student Body President.”
She sighed, pulling her blazer open, and took what looked like a wand from the Harry Potter series from the inner pocket. She waved it, and I was suddenly in my female form. “Now, no more lies.” She put the wand away.
“How did you know?” I asked her.
“My father was there when they chose you.”
“Yes. He is Väinämöinen, son of Ilmatar daughter of the sky itself. He possesses the wisdom of the ages because he was in his mother's womb for seven hundred and thirty years.” She shrugged. “The Finns demoted him to merely being a hero in the 19th century, but the Gods have never really cared what humans think.” She saw my confused look. “Remember Percy Jackson and the Olympians? I'm a demigod like they were. Only my father is of the Finnish mythology.”
“Then why weren't they represented?” I asked.
She shrugged. “Except for historians their followers are pretty much been overtaken by the other gods. The pantheons that chose you still have tens of thousands of worshipers, not just a few thousand like Father. Father was interested in why they selected you, and wanted to make sure you wouldn't make any serious mistakes. So far, so good.”
“Why did they chose me?”
“They didn't tell you?”
“I wasn't smart enough to ask.”
“Ah.” She looked curiously at me. “They wanted someone who was so ordinary, that they were almost generic. Someone who is not a success, or an abject failure. Someone in the middle.”
“Better that way for a secret identity.” She gave me that curious look again. “Like the interviews at the start of the Incredibles. Elasta-girl saying there's no way she's going shopping as her super heroine identity.”
“Ah.” She looked me up and down. “One thing puzzles me.”
“Only one thing?” At her blank look I said, 'That's a joke.”
“Tell me the next time. I will try to find the humor in it. Why are you able to talk so calmly to me?”
“What do you mean?” I asked. “You wanted to talk, you have asked cogent questions, and paid attention to my answers. Isn't that how it is supposed to be?”
“Most of the boys from school are either reduced to incoherence, or try to make passes so heavy handed, they might as well be clubs. But you just speak to me directly.”
“Oh, that.” I waved my hand. “Have you ever read an author named Terry Pratchett?” She shook her head. “He has a long standing Constable character named Nobby Nobbs who without identification would have trouble being accepted as human. In one book named Thud, his fellow police find out that an exotic dancer who is the epitome of beauty is attracted to him, because he's the only guy who ever asked her.”
I motioned at her. “Look at you for example. Intelligent, beautiful, statuesque, commanding, you scare the crap out of most of the guys, because there's no way they are in your league.”
“But I don't scare you?”
“Oh it isn't that. It's just that since I know I can't win the prize, I see no reason to play the game. So I treat you like a person. Like Pratchett explains later in the same book, picking me as a guy to date would be like going to the fanciest restaurant in town, and ordering a dinner roll and water.”
“So you are my Nobby Nobbs.” She commented.
“No. Unlike him, I haven't asked, have I? May I ask a question?” She nodded. I motioned toward her blazer. “What's with the wand?”
“When I was two my father decided to give me gift later in life. He gave the inspiration for the Harry Potter books to the author. He was trying, in his own way, to bring more people back to the older faiths. Since the series of books and movies are the most popular in history, you might say he succeeded. I loved the books and movies so much, wishing I could be in that wizarding world.
“He came back from a business trip with a gift from the Universal Studios Orlando theme park where they had opened a Harry Potter section, and have a wand shop called Olivanders just like the one in the movies.” She opened her blazer, drawing the wand out again. It looked like the one used by Bellatrix Strange, a black wood with a slightly curved almost pistol grip like handle.
I took it, and looked at the writing on the side. “I can't read it.”
“Not surprising; it's in the old Finnish alphabet and language. I was so happy I ran outside, and pointed it at a newly planted cherry tree. That tree suddenly started growing fruit, and within minutes, they were ripe. It was then that he told me of my heritage. That I can do real magic, and he began training me.”
“Training you for what?”
“Pretty much for the job you were chosen for.”
“So that makes us what, enemies?”
“Do you wish to be my enemy?”
“Then let us not come to that point.” She crossed her arms again. “It has been... interesting talking to you. I will see you tomorrow at school.”
As she walked away, I considered that it had been interesting. I had never heard of Sova actually taking an interest in any other student, male or female. I headed home.
What, nothing to say Catto? On this one I'm going to be a dick. If someone doesn't reply, there's no more.
All right, I give.
What the Hell?
The next morning I got up, staggering toward the bathroom. I had stayed in girl form all night mainly because I hadn't considered changing back. After all, if I needed to save the day again, it would save time. When I turned on the bathroom light, something about my appearance caught my attention.
I was still a girl. For a moment, it didn't matter, but then suddenly it did. It wasn't that I had wanted to stay a girl just in case, it was that every time last night that I had thought about changing something kept me from completing the thought until now.
I closed my eyes, looking for the threat that might have kept me female, but there was no threat. I closed my eyes, calming myself. No worries, no danger. I opened my eyes,
No change. I was still a girl.
There was something, like a faint fragrance in the air, or a subtle play of light on a background. “Sova.” I snarled. Somehow she had trapped me in this form. But why?
“You called, oh pulchritudinous one?” At my blank look, it sighed. “What do you want?”
“Why am I stuck in female form?”
“Scanning... Odd, someone has cast a spell locking you in that form.”
“But how? If I have powers, how could someone circumvent them?”
“They didn't. They just reset your default mode so you're a girl instead of a boy.”
“So how do I correct it?”
“Find out who and why, work from there.”
“I really hate you.” I grabbed my briefcase and took off for school. I could still fly, so I did. I had to find her and get some answers. I landed in the park, stormed to the school, and went in.
“Wow, look at the hot chick!” Some guy said.
“Holy puberty!' Another moaned.
I looked around. I had forgotten I was a girl at the moment, and suddenly I felt like a cat at a Dog show. Every eye was locked on me, and I knew what was behind those looks. It wasn't what I would call fun unless I really was a girl, and a party girl at that.
“Sorry guys. Came in through the wrong gate.”
“Oh please!” One of the guys grabbed his crotch. “Maybe you can... entertain us?” He leered.
“Does that actually work for you?” I snapped. He looked confused. “Grabbing the crotch and leering actually makes girls interested? What breed of animal actually gets off on that?” There was a growing area of silence around me.
“Young lady!” I saw one of the monks who taught on the boys side storming toward me. “Girls are forbidden on the boy's side!”
“I know, Brother Elliot.”
“How did you know my name?” He asked, confused.
“Just lucky, I guess. I am sorry.” He flicked his fingers as I turned and walked back out. I went to the next gate. I had never been on the girl's side, and we on the other side had always imagined what it was like. Fainting couches, hot tubs full of nude girls, full make up mirrors, all of the fantasies a guy might have of what was going on.
Actually it looked like the boy's side, just institutional salmon walls instead of institutional puke green. Other girls were walking in, chattering like magpies. Then someone noticed me, and poked her neighbor. Another area of silence began to grow as every eye turned to look at me. Oh god, some of those looks were just as predatory as the guys!
“Ah, Ms Parker. So good of you to join us.” I turned, and there was Sova. “Ladies, I am sure there is something you should be doing. So be about it.” As if she had waved her wand, everyone headed toward the doors of the buildings. She stopped by me. “Come on, we'll talk in the cafeteria.”
“Why did you do this to me, Sova?”
“As I said, you are an interesting person. I wanted to find out more about you, but waiting until after school would have been counter productive.”
“And changing me into a girl wasn't?”
“I didn't change you. I merely-”
“Yes, I know. Reset my default.”
“Very good.” She gave me a considering look. “This way, if I sat with you at lunch or bumped into you in class, no one would wonder why I am taking an interest. After all, I am the one who tells all of the new girls the rules.”
“And how did I miraculously become a female student?Without school records or ID?”
“You have records. As for your ID,” She reached into her pocket, and hand me a laminated card. My female face looked up, with N. Parker listed as the name.
“Magic is a wonderful thing. You are an exchange student from back East, and if anyone checked the school you had supposedly gone to, there would be records there as well.”
“When are you going to let me change back?”
“When I have satisfied my curiosity.” we entered the cafeteria, and she brought me to the serving line. I took a cup of tea, and she one of coffee, and we sat. The rules were pretty much the same as they were on the boy's side. She handed me a class schedule that matched my normal one right down to room numbers. “So, tell me about yourself.”
“What's to know? You already know just about everything anyone else does about me.”
“What are your hobbies?”
“Watching Japanese Animation and jerking off.” She looked confused. “That was a joke.”
“I did tell you to let me know the next time.” She shook her head. “I took it for sarcasm.”
“It was.” I rubbed my head. “I have a lot of interests that I can satisfy using the internet, so I spend a lot of time surfing. I am a font of sometimes worthless information.”
“Ah. And do you date?”
“In this school?” I laughed. “You girls might as well be on the moon for all the chances we would get. And girls who don't go to this school think we boys are all perverts in training.”
“Or the girls are Vestal Virgins.”
“So, you don't even have fantasies about it?” I looked at her. With anyone else, I would hope she was flirting with me. But then again, I tried to picture Sova flirting with anyone who isn't as perfect as she was, and would think she was playing a cruel joke. But I couldn't see her playing a practical joke on anyone. From what I had heard about her, and seen so far, she was as subtle as a punch in the mouth.
No, she was interested in me the same way a scientist would be interested by a bacteria he had never heard of.
“Every guy has fantasies.” I admitted. “But I am too grounded in reality to give them much leeway. With any girl alive that I might have a fantasy, about there are a couple million guys ahead of me. It's like imagining living in California, and dreaming that you buy a lotto ticket and win with only one pick. Even when you know logically that you have better odds of being hit by a meteorite. So I let my fantasies die a natural death.”
She looked saddened by that. “So you have you never even considered it?”
“Why bother? I'm not the brightest bulb in the chandelier, or the best looking, or the wittiest. I'm just an average Joe.” I sighed. “If there is a woman out there for the likes of me, I expect her to be as lackluster as I am. Someone I will meet romantically in the frozen food aisle as we both reach for the same TV dinner.” I almost wanted to cringe. “I'm not worthy of the interest of a really attractive and intelligent woman.”
“But you have succeeded in gaining my interest. That is not something any other boy can say over there.” She waved toward the Berlin Wall.
I looked up, seeing Heather standing beside the table. “May I had a word with our new student, Madam President”
Sova smiled. “Of course you may. Have a good first day.”
I would have answered, but suddenly I was being towed like a luxury liner out of the cafeteria. Heather headed for the gym, walking us inside, ignoring my protests until we reached the equipment room. She spun around, then lip locked me.
“Whoa!” I said when she came up for breath. She looked deep into my eyes.
“You've saved me twice. You must let me thank you,” She husked, “somehow.”
If I had been a guy at the moment, this would have been my dream; like Prince Charming looking into which ever princess' eyes after rescuing her from durance vile. “Heather, we know nothing about each other. No one could fall in love this quickly.”
“You risked your own life to save mine twice. What else do I need to know?”
“You need to know more about that person. So go slowly, all right?”
She sighed. “If you insist.”
“So let's see.” I took out my class list. “I'm in room 311 for home room.”
“Damn. I'm in 321.” She pouted. “But when is your gym class?”
“Fourth period, right before lunch.”
“We share that!”
“Oh, joy.” I mumbled. I looked at my watch. “We have only a minute before first bell. I will see you in gym.”
“You will.” she promised, eyes shining. I pushed past her and fled. Great. I finally get to kiss my dream girl, but it's because she seems to like me as a girl more than me as a guy. Of course she didn't know me well as a guy. I'd just have to try to be more interesting.
Fat chance if I'm stuck as a girl. I had to get back to normal.
The first day in a new school is standard for all of us. Stand in front of the class, introduce yourself, tell them how much you will appreciate working with them, that kind of thing.
I found myself standing in front of the class. The first thing I noticed was that Janice was in the same homeroom. She looked at me with no recognition; after all while Janus knew me, Janice did not. I introduced myself, and the Nun nodded approvingly.
“There's a seat beside me.” One of the girls said.
“Yes, thank you Ms McBride, take that seat, Ms Parker.” I walked back to the desk. The girl that had spoken was watching me with consideration in her eyes. I blushed at her scrutiny, opening my book as class began. A moment later, I felt a nudge. The girl beside me opposite MacBride was holding out a slip of paper concealed from the nun. I opened it.
UR SO HOT!
I blushed again, crumpling it up, dropping it in my briefcase. Before the 45 minute class was over, I had been sent fifteen notes. Except for the first most were asking questions. Did I dye my hair, what were my measurements, what did the N. of my first initial stand for, did I have a boyfriend/girlfriend, was I straight or did I swing both ways, the list became more graphic right before the bell rang.
I knew from experience that there is about five minutes between classes, and it's plenty of time to move from one to the other, even if you had to go to another building. But try to do that with a gauntlet of giggling girls surrounding you bombarding you with questions.
I was able to make progress by ignoring the more blatant ones. When asked what my name was, I started to say Nick, but changed it to Nikki, which had them asking if I was related to that one boy Nick Parker over on the boy's side. I claimed to be a cousin. Some of the girls were snapping pictures with their cell phones except for the girl who announced her name as Tanya McBride, who pulled out a digital camera to take one.
I was late for my next class, in fact I was late for every one of them for the same reason. By gym class, which I dreaded, I was frustrated. Why was I so interesting? Face it, I was interesting because I wasn't me any more.
I walked into the locker room, and froze. Lots of eye candy, stripping as if this were normal.
Well, duh, for them it was. I had decided that I wouldn't dress out; after all, I hadn't brought any gym suit, and couldn't. Sister Carmichael, the gym teacher disabused me of that, pointing at a locker. I should have expected Sova to be thorough. There was a locker with N. PARKER on it, and inside was a Catalina swim suit in wine red with a sports bra, t shirt, and shorts. I concentrated on the locker as I stripped, feeling every eye on me as I did. Both Heather and Janice were in this class with me, and I made sure not to look, as much as I wanted to.
Heather pouted because I wasn't paying attention. Janice had a confused look on her face for some reason as she pulled down her shirt.
“All right girls. Hit the field.” Carmichael roared. I closed my locker, and started to follow the others when a hand tapped my shoulder. I turned. Janice was gone, and Janus stood there.
“What is this? Peeking at all of the girls?” She asked sarcastically.
“No.” I sighed. “Sova has magical powers. She locked me in this form so she could spend time with me as a girl.”
She looked at me as if expecting to see the word LIE printed on my face. “I should warn you, there is good new and bad news about Janice.”
“Yes. The good news is that she is thinking about boys more. The bad news is she has fixated on you as Nick Parker.” She caught my hand, leading me from the locker room. Before we hit the door, she dropped my hand as if it burned her, and Janice was back, even more confused.
“Thanks for catching me, Janice.”
“Uh, sure.” She blushed. “Do I know you?”
“Of course you do.” I lied heartily. “Same home room class?”
We were divided up into teams of four to run the relay, and I ended up on the same team, with Heather. She was watching me with lambent eyes, her expression growing stormy if anyone paid more than casual attention to me. After the relay, we ran the 100 yard hurdles. I had not realized how efficient my female body was in comparison to my male one. I wasn't trying to be better; after all I could literally be at the start line the instant the gun went off. Instead I watched the others, aiming for second or third in every event. But when I ran the hurdles, it was like I had been doing it my whole life, arching over them smoothly and running on. It was hard to lose that race with such skill. Probably there was some god of sports in there.
When we hit the showers, I picked a shower head at the back so I could look at the wall, and pretend there wasn't a couple of acres of fine nude womanhood sharing the space with me. Before I knew it, Heather was there, languorously washing my back without my asking. I made sure not to look, even when her nipples brushed my back.
We went to lunch, and while every girl seemed to think they should have time with me, Sova came strolling in, waved them all away, and sat across from me.
She looked at her meal, opened the packet with the flatware, and forked up some mashed potatoes. “So. How has your first day of school been?”
“How do you think it has been?” I snarled.
“I have no idea. That was why I asked.”
“Well between every girl over here either trying to get my life story, or trying to get in my panties, it's been a rough time.”
She looked at me for a long moment. “Was that a joke?”
“I wish. How many lesbians are there over here, anyway?”
“Very few actually.” She chewed some roast beef reflectively. “I would say there are only about ten percent that might be called lesbian. Perhaps the same of girls that might have actually experimented, with another twenty percent who have considered it as an option.”
“Well I think your figures are wrong, considering how many women had done everything but rip off my panties so far today!”
She shook her head, sipping her milk. “No, that is the subject of their interest as much as you might think.” I looked confused. “You may have chosen your form, but like anything created by the gods, you are as perfect as you can be. When the boys see your pictures, you will probably be their number one fantasy girl. As it is, on the Girl's side here, you are in the top three, and maybe number one there.”
“'When they see my pictures'?”
She nodded. “You are in home room with Tanya McBride.”
“While it is a deep dark secret, she is the one who puts out the Sleaze.” I stared at her in shock and horror. The Sleaze was a underground e-newspaper for our school. We guys knew it was a girl doing it, considering how many up the skirt shots it had of our girls, and the articles about what girl was doing whom, or thinking about it. The school had tried to stamp it out, but whoever was doing it used public server with a floating ISP, meaning it was never the same ISP twice. Every guy over there was a subscriber, even me.
“Oh god, I'm not only toast, I'm burned toast!”
“Ah, irony.” She patted her lips with her napkin. “I am also told that you did everything you could to avoid looking at the other girls in gym. Commendable.”
“Yeah. Because Loki threatened to thump me if I tried.”
“There is that.” She agreed. “One thing I would suggest is that you buy a bra, unless bouncing around as if offering is what you enjoy in this form. Well, have fun for the rest of the day.”
“You know, your definition of fun is not the same as mine.” She looked at me. “Yes, that was sarcasm, again.”
She nodded, picked up her tray, and left. Before she had gone ten paces Heather was there. “What is it between you and that bitch?”
“Long story.” I sighed, rubbing my forehead. “Look, it's my first day, and it's not going well. Could I get a rain check on any more lip locking?”
She looked stricken. “You don't like me?”
“Oh it isn't that, Heather. It's just I never considered kissing a girl before, and you're making me nervous.”
“Neither have I, before I met you.” Her eyes were melting as she looked at me. “But ever since I've met you, I've been having these feeling. I just want to throw you down, rip off your clothes, and have my wicked way with you.”
“And that makes me even more nervous.” I replied. “Just... let our relationship grow at it's own pace, please?”
“Sure.” She stood, then leaned across and pecked me on the lips. “You'll be worth the wait.” Then she was gone.
A horde of girls descended on me, but I was saved by the bell literally.
The rest of the day was just horror upon horror. When the last class ended I was deluged in offers to join every club they had on the girl's side, having a convoy of lovelies just wanting to talk, or touch, or something as long as I was the other one in the mix. I finally escaped, and by literally teleporting off the bus halfway home, I finally got away.
At home I sighed, growled at Quoth, and brought up my e-mail. There was one from the Sleaze about the latest edition. With trepidation, I brought it up.
Newest honey at our school!
“This editor has seen the future, and the Future is Nikki Parker, the latest addition to our school. She is already in the running for most beautiful girl on campus, and her admirers are legion on our side of the wall, guys.
“She's five nine, 105 pounds, measurements 36D, 25, 36, and is shy guys, so none of that stupid crap trying to score with her. As for sexual orientation, she is already the dream girl of our heteroflexible and gay crowd here, and might be snapped up before you have the chance. Tough noogies.
“But to find out who is the most popular girl over here, we are going to need another petition for a beauty contest. You dweebs have failed me before, don't fail me this time if you want to get a better chance of seeing her in the adorable flesh and sexy costumes.”
This was followed by about three pages of pictures. One had been shot in class where the girl holding the camera had gotten a picture of white panties under my skirt. Another from behind in gym as I peeled off my blouse to reveal that I was braless. One of me running the hurdles, then of me in the shower, with all of the naughty bits pixelated. Then there were shots of me and Heather talking with the caption 'Already the leader in trying to possess the new hottie? Try Heather Wayne!' followed by photos of me talking with Sova, and the caption, 'even our SBP is after her? Who would have thunk it?'
“How do I get out of this body, Quoth.”
“Most humans use controlled substances for that.”
“You're not helping.” I sang.
“The girl who did it to you might like your girl form better than your guy. Big problem there. Maybe if you had actually studied that book I got for you, you might have worked it out already.”
“I've been kinda busy. I don't have time to read.”
“Read.” It snorted. “Who said anything about reading? Last night you looked inside that mobster's computer to itemize what there was of interest to law enforcement. You can literally download the whole book from your computer directly to your own brain. Just touch it, find it, and absorb it.”
I looked at my laptop dubiously, then touched it. It was like looking into the world of the movie Tron; all streams of energy. I thought about the PDF, and found it almost immediately. An instant later I removed my hand. In my mind's eye I could see every page as I flicked through it.
I frowned. “I don't see anyway to correct it.”
“Cause there ain't no way once a spell is done. You have to stop them before they do, which you can now.”
“But not this first spell.”
I really hate you.”
“And you're starting to repeat yourself.”
I didn't see the new updates to this, Mach, I apologize!
I'm up to date now however, and I must say.... Chicks be crazy!
Nick's got his work cut out for him if he can't change back to a guy soon, haha.
As the old saying goes, you can get used to anything, even hanging, if you do it long enough. For the next three days, I was a girl going to school. I worried about attendance; obviously if I was here, I wasn't in class on the other side of the wall. Sova told me not to worry. To the students on the Boy's side I was there and as lackluster as ever. The Sleaze had gotten those petitions, one from either side of the school. Not surprising, there were only two students that had not signed, and I was both of them.
That third day, I felt that sense of hearing from somewhere else again. A tense hostage situation at a local bank, SWAT team rolling, two suspects holding hostages. I raised my hand, and requested permission to go to the bathroom. I went down the hall, through the door, and teleported up over the building.
I could see and hear everything, and none of it made sense. Oh there were cops behind their cars with guns out; but inside the bank it looked more like a movie set before the director shouts 'action!'. I dropped down to the sidewalk outside, and only now did the cops outside tense up. One of them spoke into the mike on his shoulder, and the scene inside went to action as the robbers chivvied their 'hostages' toward the far wall.
I walked to the bank door, and opened it. One of the masked men turned to menace me with his assault rifle, and I grinned. I'd liked AD&D's read of Amaterasu, and he looked at me confused as the rifle turned into a dozen doves, three of them sitting on the bent arm, and one on his outstretched hand as the others flitted up to land on the lighting fixtures. Before the other could react, I was beside him, plucking the gun out of his hand. I popped the magazine one handed, catching it in mid air.
“You know,” I commented in a conversational tone, “you should really load it before you bring it.” I flipped it over my shoulder, crossing my arms. “It's not some kind of drill obviously; you would have at least put blanks in it. So who is going to tell me the first whopper of a lie?”
The man I had just disarmed stood upright. “We figured it was the best way to get a chance to talk to you.”
“I don't deal with masked men.” He shrugged and peeled it off. He looked like a hardline cop.
“Special Agent Driscoll, Department of Homeland Security.” He motioned toward an open office. “If you would?”
“Sure; as soon as the bozo with the syringe full of drugs gets out of the room.” He shrugged again as if I couldn't blame him for trying. The man came out, capping the syringe. “And I would advise the woman over there with the tranquilizer gun that if she even thinks about shooting me, she'll need a gynecologist to remove it from where I'll stick it.” The woman flinched, then pulled her hand out of the huge purse she was carrying.
Driscoll looked at me askance. “Are you always this...rude?”
“Just a simple rule to live by. Never make an idle threat. Which means if I say I'll stick it where the sun don't shine, I'd bring a proctologist and a flashlight to find it.” I motioned for him to go first, and followed him into the office. He closed the door, then, when I refused a seat, sat behind the desk. I looked at myself, and sensed something. Ah, a radioactive tracking dye from a sprayer over the office door. My lips quirked, and it scattered away from me in little motes of light. Just to make it fun, I used some of Loki's powers, and attached it to the police outside the building.
“We don't know what you are calling yourself. After all, all of the good female hero names are taken...”
“I don't need a name. I am a representative of the gods of four pantheons, Mister O'Hara.”
He froze, and I could see the calculation in his eyes.
“Spare me your cover stories. One of those I serve is Hekate, the Greek goddess of that which is hidden.” I clasped my hands behind my back, pacing. “Damian O'Hara, working for OSI; The Office of Specialized Intelligence. Formed in 1975, supposedly to use science information to bolster the CIA. In reality as an agency that can carry out missions under the best possible version of plausible deniability.” I looked at him. “The IDs you carry for the FBI, CIA, Homeland Security, and Treasury are very good. But again, they were issued by those agencies.”
He didn't answer. “You went to work for them in 1977. Every time the government needed to clear an 'obstacle' from their path, but could not legally do so, you were there. Most recently in Afghanistan, Iraq. Pakistan.” I looked up. He had gone pale. I waved my hand. “The gods will deal with you in good time. I should warn you though, 'the ends justify the means' doesn't really work. But then we come to why you invited me here.
“You see a young woman with unique abilities; one who can do what your own agency can not. And you assumed that by bringing me here, and waving a flag in my face as you give me a stirring speech about how much I can do for my country that I would come to work for your organization. But there's a problem with that. There is no resource you can offer that I need, or mission I cannot carry out on my own. But I have no interest in eliminating people for ideological reasons. Therefore, I am not as asset you can use.
“Regardless of what priests say, the gods really don't care what government we have, or what that government does to stay in power. You can go on with your missions, but I will not be party to them. So let's end this little dance. We had our talk, I said no, and you decide it is in your own best interests to merely leave me alone from this point on. Agreed?”
“Do you honestly think the government will merely leave a loose cannon like you alone?”
I laughed. “So predictable. It's not like you can find the real me.” I pictured Salam Hayak, and he flinched as I changed to match her appearance. “What I really look like, and who I really am is not something you can discover.” I changed so it was him standing there now instead of me. “So if you want to play hardball, I am game.” Now I was invisible.” Give it your best shot. But you have been warned, and to quote an old book, you only get one.” I returned to my girl form.
I heard him shout in protest as I flung open the door. A guy held a taser, and he shot me with it, the electrodes catching in my clothing. I looked down, then pulled them free stalking toward him. He just stood there stunned as I caught his hand. “You dropped something.” Then I dropped them into his hand as I closed my fingers around it. He spasmed as the charge went through him instead. I crushed the launcher, shorting it out, and he collapsed. I looked around. A number of them had weapons in hand, except for the woman I had already threatened. She gave me a wan smile. She deserved a promotion.
“That was the last freebie, people. If you want to end up in the hospital or the morgue today, I am happy to oblige.”
“We can't just let you leave.” Someone said. I turned my head, looking at him.
“And how will you stop me?” The next instant I was two hundred feet above the building, nose to nose, as it were, with an Apache helicopter. I finger waved at the pilot, then was back in the bathroom at school.
I had left fingerprints on the door handle, but again, a little Loki misdirection, and whoever ran those prints would come up with their own face. I also extended that ability to the security camera footage, so I appeared to look like Jessica Rabbit. Let them try to figure that out. I returned to class.
A Beauty Contestant... Me?
I closed the last book of my last class. Considering one thing I had noticed in the past days. My grades had markedly improved. When called on in class I always had the answer, no matter how odd it would have been to me before. My brain was working better, or memory, or whatever. Having so many gods messing around in my life had given me that, at least. I had asked Sova about it, and she told me that the shadow she had mimicking me on the Boy's side had also seen all of the same improvements, though he was still mainly Mr Invisible.
Admin announced that due to the petitions, there would be a beauty contest, and the students would chose who was competing. I knew I would be one of them, and remembered the comment by General Sherman of the Union army during the War Between the states who said several times that he would not accept being president under any circumstances.
The girls were ignoring me in that regard, and thanks to the school announcing that the pageant would be televised by the Girl's side Audio Visual Club, the boys would protest even more if I bowed out. Honestly, I was hit on so many times by people on either side of the wall that I agreed with Sova; they might as well have been using clubs.
I went to the library the day of the announcement, and waved to Janice. As a girl I had befriended Janice, and felt almost sick at the joy it gave her. Someone on this side of the wall who actually liked her. Both Janus and I wanted to break her out of her shell, and I thought this would be perfect.
“Why don't you compete?” I asked her as I brought the books I was checking out to the desk. “The Beauty Contest.” I expanded. She looked up at me startled.
“I could never do that...” She whispered.
“Why not?” I asked. You are pretty, and smart. A winning combination!”
“No.” She blushed. “No one thinks I'm pretty.”
“That's because you hide in here every chance you get. Except for checking out books and helping them find what they're looking for, how many boys have you talked to like people?”
“Only two. One of them... hurt me. But the other was nice.”
“So let me get this straight; you based your opinion on your looks and personality on two incidents, one good and one bad?” She nodded glumly. “Well if you compete, they will have to see you in a different light.”
“Why are you trying to humiliate me?” She asked looking up, eyes glistening.
I knelt, touching her face gently. “There's a whole world out there waiting for you if you just try, Janice. I was like you for a long time, but something brought me out of my shell, and it will work for you too.” I stood, smiled at her, and walked down the line of shelves, turning to go back toward the forbidden area. Let's see...three...two...on-
Are you out of your tiny little mind?” Janus demanded from behind me.
“Janus, we both agreed that Janice needs to spread her wings and try things. I think this would be good for her.”
“If you were here in male form, that might be true.” Janus disagreed. “She has gone to bed crying all week because that doppelganger Sova created ignores her.”
“I'll talk to Sova, maybe we can have me be a girl during the school day except in the library and after school. That way I can be a shoulder to cry on.”
“It isn't your shoulder she wants, Nick.” Janus commented dryly.
“I know.” I sighed. “You know, before this happened,” I motioned toward my body, “the gods choosing me and all, I would have dreamed of having someone like Janice pining over me, wanting me right this minute. But I realize that she and I are too alike.”
I chose a book. The instant I picked it up my mind merely absorbed it. Was this why I had suddenly become a better student? “Like every boy, I dreamed of meeting a girl, wooing her, and eventually doing, that. But no one paid any attention. If she had done what she did back then, I would have dragged her home and done it that very day.
“But then I would have felt guilty. I would have taken what she offered, and felt like crap because I was so weak. We would have ended up as a couple, and she would have missed the chance to find someone who liked her and loved her as herself.” I looked at her. “I was and still am in a lot of ways a boring person. She's smart and she would have realized it before I did, and would be guilty because the man who took her virtue couldn't hold a candle to her intelligence.
“So we would be stuck, unwilling to hurt the other further by breaking up, but hurting each other every day because of that. That isn't love, that's simple lust compounded by the need of the other person. We would have drifted into marriage because we would see no other option. She would try to be the perfect little wife yet feel miserable because I am too damn easy to please. And I would be the dutiful husband, and dream of all I might have wanted to do if we had not gotten together and married.
“That isn't a happy marriage, it's a life sentence we gave ourselves, and can't be appealed because there is no higher court. It would end when one of us dies. Then and only then would the other be free.”
She looked at me for a long moment. “So you do have feelings for her.”
“Yes I do. She is a sweet girl, yet like me, she is a needy one. We have to give her a larger view of the world, see the wonders she will never have if she settles for me. Give her options that don't tie her down to someone who might never make her truly happy.”
“Yet you have changed.” Janus told me.
“And she doesn't even know that I as a girl am the same person. She's leaning toward me there just as hard as she is toward my male persona. She doesn't have a whole lot of friends, I think.”
“You're right there.” Janus admitted. “Her best friend in the world right now is Double Dark chocolate ice cream. So how is having her compete going to help?”
“She'll know the boy's side has really seen her for the first time, and while that will scare the panties off her, it will be like standing on stage at Carnegie Hall with every eye on her. She may fail, but at least she should try.”
“Maybe you should explain it to her then.”
“I will; if I get a chance.”
“A chance to do what?” I looked over. Janice was standing there, looking confused.
“To convince you to compete. Since I need some bras, I thought we could go shopping after school.”
“Shopping? No one has ever asked me to go shopping with them.” She looked interested. “All right, it's a date then!” In her mind we would be on a date, even if we were two girls. I sighed as she walked briskly away.
Gang Aft Aglay
In 1785, Robert Burns, the Poet Laureate of Scotland wrote a poem 'To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough', after accidentally destroying a Mouse's nest. There is a stanza well known, in fact better known than the rest of the poem; The best laid plans of Mice and men, gang aft aglay (The original English translation is often goes awry).
Our shopping expedition made me remember it very well. We went with high hopes. I that I could break Janice out of her shell, Janice that her love for me as a woman might be fulfilled. Then everything went to pieces.
She chose a shop designed for 'full figured' women as our first stop. She had no need for it; she was a C cup, and full figured means a D or larger, so she got to stand there while I asked her advice on what might look good. As Tom Lehr commented in one of his songs, as to bras 'this I know from nothing'.
Without implants she would never know how to deal with the Hooters from Hell, but she did know what looked good. I tried on bra after bra, and everything she chose looked good. I was torn because I was willing to buy two bras, but she had chosen a dozen.
“I'm not sure.” I admitted. She probably thought my blushing reaction was to the clothing itself, but it was more to the fact that I was looking at an extremely attractive woman in something meant to entice. Sure the woman was me, but I was reacting as I had that first night. The woman in the mirror was sex personified.
She came up behind me, and I could feel her excitement as her hands rested on my hips. “The green would offset your hair.” She whispered. “The blue strapless would be best for a strapless dress. The black demi-cup would be the most exciting to those looking at you-”
I laughed, disengaging. If anything my blush was deeper. “Really, I only need a couple of bras, Janice. Not a dozen!”
“But different bras go for different things.” She protested.
“This would look good.” A hand reached from behind me with a lacy confection, and I looked at it astonished. Then I turned.
“Sova? What are you doing here?”
“Enjoying the spectacle.” she replied. “try it on.”
“Not good enough?”
“No, it's... nice.” It was a demi-cup shelf bra that would thrust me up as if offering the viewer all of that creamy goodness.
Before I could comment further Sova pushed me toward the dressing room. “Then try it on.” Wary, I went into the dressing room. Before I could pull the door closed, Sova and Janice had followed. I found myself being watched by two sets of eyes; one looking at me from a blushing face, the other with a gentle smile. “Well,” Sova commented at my 'deer in the headlights' look. “Go on. It's not like we haven't seen a woman's breasts before.” My face felt so hot I was sure the sprinklers would go off. Both of them watched for a long moment as I stood there, stunned.
“Perhaps she is just shy; that it will be her breasts being exposed.” Sova sighed. “Well, there's no help for it.” She opened her blouse, shrugging out of it.
“What are you doing?” I squealed.
“If you are not the only one who strips, it won't be as uncomfortable.” Sova replied with that infernal logic of hers. Janice began to unbutton her blouse as well.
I spun to the wall, and began to strip. I didn't want to look at them; it would have been wrong to take that advantage. I bounced in a way the guys at school and every one of those gay or heteroflexible girls would have howled over. The one time I had not worn a sport's bra during gym I had almost beaten myself to death with my own bouncing boobies. Without turning around I found the bra, but for the life of me couldn't figure out how to put it on. A pair of hands took it from me, opening the hooks. Then the arms came around my waist, clipping it in the front beneath the girls. I froze.
Sova whispered in my ear. “If you hook it like this, you can turn it around your waist until the cups are in position and pull up the straps.” I stood there like an idiot as she hooked it, then spun it around. “Go on.”
I slid my arms into the straps. It didn't feel quite right, though I couldn't figure out why. As I was concentrating on that, I found I had been turned around. Both of them had stripped to their bras, and I reddened even more at the sight. Sova was full figured, maybe a little smaller than my own puppies. Janice was built well enough that if I had been a guy at that moment, I would have been interested.
“Ah, you have to reposition for comfort.” Sova commented. I looked at her clueless. “Janice, if you don't mind helping?” I squealed as each of them grabbed, maneuvering the girls with their hands. Then they both let go. Sova had been as clinical as always. But Janice had blushed even deeper than I was, and her fingers lingered for a couple of seconds before she snatched her hand back guiltily. “How does that feel now?” Sova asked.
I wanted to snap back at her. Since she'd manhandled one of them personally, I wanted to asked her how it felt, but I was afraid she'd tell me. Then I realized that the bra was suddenly comfortable. I said so. They finally convinced me to buy six bras, including the one Sova had chosen.
We were leaving the store when Heather came running up, gasping as she tried to catch her breath. “You were... supposed to wait... for me.” She finally gasped out.
“I am sorry, Heather.” Sova soothed. “Nikki isn't much of a shopping animal. We had to convince her to buy more than two bras!”
“Bras!” Heather's eyes misted over. Oh god, she was picturing me in a bra. Damn it why couldn't she imagine me as a guy?
“Well I for one am hungry. Come on, lunch is on me.” Sova told us, walking down the street. We followed, wondering when she had suddenly become the ringmaster of this traveling circus.
First Nick talks to a Special Agent about him being a female super hero, then he has a moral epiphany about how he is as a guy, and then he goes shopping and trying on bra's.... This guy leads a strange life....
You ain't seen nothing yet, Catto...
Playing Dress up
Before the 'date' (Yeah, right. Three girls and I, a date?) was over, I had gotten Sova alone long enough to plead my case. She waved her wand, then told me that when I got home, I would be a boy again. Her explanation, that I would have people questioning why a guy was wearing a bra stopped me from whining. Much.
She also told me that when I felt the need to be myself as a guy, I could just walk into the library, find a shelf line with no one else, and concentrate as normal, using the same to switch to girl mode. But she did warn me that I had to be a girl for the last two classes the next day. When I asked why she merely told me I would find out, and smiled engimatically.
I begged off on more shopping, got away from the women somehow, and got home. The instant I was through the door, I was back to normal. Using what I had learned from the book, I made sure she couldn't do it again.
The next day I was back at school as myself. Everywhere on the boys side, I caught the same buzz about (You guessed it) my 'cousin Nikki'. If I had been a pimp I could have coined money selling 'her' secrets.
I was in the third to last class when I found a note in my briefcase reminding me that I had promised to be on the girl's side in the next class. So I sighed, and headed to the library. Janice perked up when she saw me, and I begged off because I had to find a book. Down a shelf line, boom, I was Nikki again.
I turned to find a very irate Janus standing behind me. “That was cold, Nick.”
I sighed, and explained. She relented, but with bad humor. A boy came into our aisle. “I'm looking for something about the Civil War-”
“War between the States.” We said in unison. She smiled slightly, then continued. “Two shelves over, history, which is clearly marked. Fourth and fifth shelf to the West. For the 'apologists' which is considered lies about it, you need to get into the restricted section.”
“Read Raphael Semmes' book there.” I added. That slight smile grew.
“You and her would be perfect together once she gets over her shyness. But we had better go.”
She handed me a list of the contestants in our beauty pageant. There were nine names; one freshman, two sophmore, five juniors including Heather Janice and I, and one senior (You guessed it) Sova. “We're reporting to our home rooms for out last two classes.” She told me as the class bell sounded. We hurried. Somewhere enroute, Janica was back.
All of the desks had been pushed and stacked at the back of the room, and our full class was there. Before I could say a word they descended on us like locusts and clothing flew. I was down to bare skin in less than fifteen seconds, and someone began to slide a new outfit on me. Two and a half minutes later (Believe me, I was watching the clock) I was dressed in a cute little French maid's uniform. Janice (Blushing furiously) was in a similar outfit.
They handed us feather dusters, and Tanya was holding up a cue card. “Read it!” she shouted from where she knelt in front of a digital video camera.
“If the master of the house wishes.” I stumbled through.
“I can clean his tubes as well.” Janice was so red I expected her head to release steam like they do in Japanese animes when it's a female experiencing sexual arousal or embarrassment. They waited only a few seconds before they did their locust imitation again.
For the next eighty minutes they stripped and dressed us like perverts playing with two living Barbie dolls. The outfits became more and more risque, school issue bathing suits, cat ears and tails, bondage gear (Me standing with a more than ever embarrassed Janice on her hands and knees on a leash). ending with the kind of swim suit you would rather die than wear in public. Mine was something that might have been used as a quarter of a handkerchief if you took all of the panels and sewed them together. The one Janice wore was a monokini, A pair of straps that ran down to her bustline, widened enough to stay within the censor's boundaries, then ran down to her hips with a panel small enough that you could almost tell if she had dyed her hair, if you get my drift.
And every time, there were comments we were supposed to make that also got more coarse. I put my foot down with this last one. “I am not going to say that.” I snarled. Janice just blushed down to her breast line, and shook her head.
“This is the last one.” Tanya tried to sooth us.
“I don't care!”
“Then we'll just have to keep these.” Behind Tanya, someone held up our school uniforms, waggling them like the bully keeping your book away from you. “And you'll just have to go home in those.”
That stopped me. Sure I could become invisible or teleport. Even change to a guy, though picturing me as a guy dressed in that suit made me blush. But what about Janice? Oh Janus wouldn't mind, I thought. But picture the shyest girl you've ever met, wearing a suit that would be defined as 'asking to be raped'. I sighed. “I'm not excited, sir.” I said slowly, with a 'if you think I am, you're a eunuch' tone in my voice.
“I was just in the water.” Janice choked out.
“That's a wrap!” Tanya caroled. As we had been going through this, being stripped so many times right in the class room in front of everybody, some of the girls had been putting together some kind of enclosure. As Janice and I looked around, they added the final touch, curtains.
“Wait a minute!” I roared. “You had that ready to assemble, yet made us strip out here? Why?”
“Cause this was more fun!” someone at the back shouted to laughter from everyone but we victims. I took Janice's hand, and stormed across the room. Bad idea. The first I realized it was when there was a collective sigh and a whimper from Janice. In those suit neither one of us should have made any sudden movements for obvious reasons, two of which (One of mine and one of hers) were suddenly on display. I turned and started to cover her first, which meant Tanya's camera caught me in the act. I tried to make the camera give a view like I had in the bank, but someone (Take a wild guess) had made sure I couldn't.
Somehow we got into the enclosure, and I suddenly had my arms full of a weeping Janice. I made soothing sounds as the 'bully' delivered our clothes, and finally she was if not calm, at least she wasn't crying. “I can't go on, Nikki. I can't stand the humiliation. Please, let me drop out of the contest. Please!”
“If I had known they were going to do this, neither of us would be part of it.” I whispered into her hair. Actually, she was quite a cute armful. Janice was right; if she got over her shyness, maybe we would make a couple. “Let's get dressed and out of here before they come up with something smaller.”
“Smaller?” She gave me a brave tremulous smile. “Like three sequins?”
“Don't give them any ideas.” I separated out our uniforms. After what we had just been through, body modesty was a thing of the past. We dressed so fast that the only way we could have done it any faster was using the same technique Superman did in the first movie with Chris Reeves and the revolving door.
I had barely gotten my shirt buttoned when the curtain flew aside. Heather was standing there, breathing rapidly, which to my eyes was an interesting view. She looked first ecstatic, then frustrated, leaning forward with her hands on her knees as she gasped. It wasn't that far from her home room to ours, but she must have added JATO packs or something.
“Why...couldn't...we...all be...together?” She finally gasped out.
“If I knew, I'd be to blame.” I told her. Then I got an idea. “Listen, Heather, I'm going to ask Nick to take Janice out for some ice cream and something to calm her down. Why don't you join them?”
She looked at me. “You're not going to be there?”
“Listen, I'm a super hero of sorts. I have a ship to rescue, so he'll have to take over.” Before she could protest I had pushed them both out of the room, down to flights of stairs, and across the compound to the library. I rushed away, ducking first into a shelf line, vanished, into another, and walked out as myself.
“Janice, Heather.” I nodded to each. “I've heard you've both had a really trying day. Come on, I have just the thing.” I took Janice by the arm, offered the other to Heather (refused) and set out. I had read where what you need when you're stressed is a massage and something with a lot of lactic acid. In other words, a massage followed by hot milk or ice cream. We got off the school grounds, headed for the ice cream parlor across the street from the book store.
I suddenly realized I didn't know the first thing about massage, so I asked them to wait while I ran into the bookstore. I found the right aisle, picked up half a dozen books (I blushed furiously because on of them was about massaging a girl before going a lot further with her) then was back out before they had even thought of moving. Then I walked them across the street to the parlor. I sat them down, and stood behind Janice. “Trust me.” I whispered in her ear, and began.
She was tense, but a few moments working on her shoulders caused her to begin to relax. Soon I had her sighing and moaning, and a lot of women watching with obvious interest. Within five minutes, Janice was putty in my hands. I left her whimpering for more, ran to the counter, ordered, and was back to keep it up. By the time the order was done and delivered Janice was cooked pasta.
She opened her eyes as I stopped the second time, staring at what I had ordered. The best name would have been suicide by chocolate; three scoops of different chocolate ice creams over a warmed double dutch fudge brownie, with both hot fudge and chocolate syrup. I put a spoon in her hand, and she stared at it for a long moment before diving in. I looked to Heather.
“Oh not, you're not going to- ouch, that's too hard! Stop that... oh, that feels... different. Oh my, that feels... good. But you really have to... oh, stop. Listen... Nick, I don't like... Oh... my. Please, don't... Stop. Please, don't... stop. Don't stop!”
Once Heather had reached the putty stage, I ran over, ordered, and came back before she could escape. Like Janice she was so relaxed I was wondering if she had died when her order arrived. She was more of a banana split type, so I had gotten her chocolate, pistachio and cherry with caramel, fudge, and butterscotch toppings. She looked at the treat, then grabbed her spoon and began to scarf.
I started to walk over and order mine, but I paused. Turning, I saw Sova standing in the doorway. “May I indulge?” I motioned, and she took a chair. She was far more relaxed than the others, but then again she was also considering every move my hands made.
“You're supposed to relax, Sova.”
“I am relaxed.” She replied. “You're very good.” She sighed, and relaxed a bit more. “When I get the chance, I am going to have to try this skin to skin.”
I paused. “Why am I so interesting to you, Sova?”
“You are a unique person, Nick. More than you might imagine.” Her head turned enough that she could look at me with one eye. “You seem to be a master at choosing what a girl wants as ice cream, Nick. What have you seen for me?”
“If this were a Ben and Jerry's, I'd try for a baby Vermonster.” I leaned back, eyes closed, hands running on autopilot. “Five different ice creams, brownie chunks, chocolate chip cookie chunks, sprinkles, M&Ms, and some chocolate chips with hot fudge whipped cream and a handful of maraschino cherries.”
“Nick?” I looked down, she had turned around somehow, and I looked down to where my hands were still massaging her, er... front. In fact a very specific part or was it parts of her front. I jumped back from her as if I had been hit by a Taser. She watched my face as I blushed, paled, then blushed again even more furiously.
“Interesting reaction.” She turned away. “My ice cream?”
Oh, right.” I went for it. I got a dish of merely Neapolitan ice cream. At her crooked eyebrow, I shrugged. “A man of simple tastes.” She merely nodded, and dug in.
From bad to worse
On the way home, I noticed a girl following me. Same school uniform, but I didn't recognize her until I remembered the list from the beauty pageant. Mariko Fujimoto. Sophomore, an exchange student from Tokyo. But I hadn't seen her in this section of town before. I reached the house, unlocked and opened the door. As it swung open something hit me in the back, and drove me to the floor. I was going to switch to girl form when I saw a blade by my eye, which dropped until I felt it touch my throat.
“Henry Parker. Where is he?”
Henry was my dad. I tried to turn, but the blade caressed my throat. “Where is he?”
“Arlington cemetery.” I hissed.
The blade moved back, and there was a long silence. “What is he doing in a cemetery halfway across the country?”
I blinked back tears. “Awaiting the sure and certain hope of the resurrection.”
The weight on my back lifted. I waited for a long time, then rolled over. Mariko stood over me, a sword a lot like a Tachi, the very long form of the katana in her hand. She turned the sword toward the cell phone carrier on her hip, and my eyes widened as she slid the entire sword into the carrier, snapping the clasp over the hilt. The problem is, it was only about three inches long, and the sword she had jusr sheathed was almost fifty inches long. Yet all of it was now inside.
I looked at her. She looked like a young Kelly Hu, who played lady Deathstrike in X Men Unlimited. She also looked confused and saddened. I asked. “Why is he important?”
She looked at me expressionless. “How did he die?”
“LRRP patrol in Iraq. I was ten at the time.”
She gave me a look that suggested I was lying. “What was a Nobel Laureate in particle physics doing in a war zone, on a military patrol?” She got an 'Aha!' look, and suddenly I was dangling from her fist. “Your government in this world knew about Iraq's Mirror Project! He was no doubt part of the team sent to capture it. So it is possible he's still alive!”
“What the hell are you talking about?” I shouted back at her. “Mirror Project? Nobel Laureate? Oh he got A-pluses in physics, and if his other grades were better, he probably would have gone to college, but he didn't have the cash. So he joined the Army to make use of the GI Bill.”
“What do you mean he didn't have the money?” She replied just as angry. “His patents made him a billionaire before he was twenty-five!”
“What patents? Sure he was an inventor, but nothing he did ever worked. We still have all of his stuff in the basement.”
She dropped me, and I sprawled on the floor. “Show me.”
I stood, and led the way. Mom had never had the heart to throw out his inventions, and the larger ones stood along the back wall with shelves full of boxes with the smaller ones. His washing machine that used what he called 'new tech' to make clothes cleaner, his 'static anti-collision' field, which was at the far end. She pointed. “The Parker cleaning system. A static field generator attached to a washing machine that caused dirt to literally spring away from clothes and later from dishes. And the original static field generator itself! I've seen it in the Smithsonian!” She rushed over, looking at them all as if she were a child in a toy aisle. Then she stopped, turning back to me. “Is the one in the Smithsonian a duplicate?”
I smiled sadly. “Like I said, nothing he designed ever worked.”
“But he found out that if he made the generator torus out of palladium it generated a static energy field that separates everything not made of the same material. The original if I remember, was silver.”
I walked over, and held up the ring of the generator torus, turning it so she could see all sides of it. “He made it out of stainless steel. It was what he could afford. Palladium is something like 750 dollars an ounce.” I looked at the four inch wide ring that looked like a simple washer. “This would set him back almost four thousand if it were made of palladium today. Back in 2003 when he died it was around 1000 an ounce, and silver only around 40.”
“What did he spend he money on then?” She challenged. “I spoke to him just last week, and he reminisced about when he went to Las Vegas as a present from his father at 18 and won a half million dollars at roulette.”
I put down the ring. “As for his Vegas trip, he 'reminisced about it' to me when I was six. How his father gave him 200 dollars spending money, and he blew it at the roulette wheel in one evening.
“That's the second time you've said something that made no sense. The government in 'this' world. And how could you talk to him last week if he's been dead for ten years?”
She sighed. “When we go to alternate dimensions, we are instructed to only observe. We bring back history and technology texts merely to see where that dimension split from our own, but we are enjoined from bringing back actual samples of that technic. We are taught that bringing technology back from them is dangerous because until it is thoroughly understood, we could destroy ourselves. For that matter telling anyone in another dimension that there even are alternate dimensions can have far reaching consequences.”
“So why are you telling me?”
“Because I know the you in my own dimension. You have always been a thoughtful young man, and your father trusts your judgement. I was instructed by him and my creator that in the event of an emergency, I was to find first my creator, if not him, find Henry Parker. Failing that, to find you to try to get home.”
She looked at me somberly. “Dimensional travel is too dangerous to allow humans to make the trip. Primarily because humans are weak and foolish. You have so many stories even now about all the possible damage that can be done.
“In a story dated from the 1970s the author had someone steal a dimensional shifter and jump around making drawings of simple devices, the things easily translated from one dimension to another with the least harm. But he dumps his stolen shifter, before he discovers that in the world he is now in, Edgar Rice Burroughs was known for his poetry rather than his Barsoom Pellucidar and Tarzan works. Do you follow?”
“Changes that small? Yes, I understand.”
“There are more modern stories of the same sort. In an animated television show called the Justice League of America, you have an alternate universe where the Justice League became the Justice Lords, and pretty much took over the world, but were now going into your dimension, kidnapping their counterparts, and intending to extend their idea of justice to your world.
“Or in 2001, the movie The One, where an officer in one dimension's 'Multiverse Authority' goes insane, and begins jumping from dimension to dimension killing off all of the versions of himself living in them to become all powerful until he is finally caught by his only remaining counterpart in your dimension, who is merely a sheriff's deputy.”
I looked at her for a long moment. “But you look human.”
She grinned. “Of course I do. It wouldn't help to conceal our project if I looked like C3P0 from Star Wars, would it? Back before my kind were created, humans had to make the 'jaunts' and every time someone went out, they became more worried. We hadn't even discovered your dimension yet, but there are stories as bad as the ones I mentioned in some of them about the possible ramifications.
“In 2001, the year after the project began, one of the people brought back not a drawing or description, but an actual piece of technology, against all rules or reason. In dimension 185 they had developed biomechanical robots for use in combat. He happened to land in an active combat zone, and found one that had been damaged enough that it was unrepairable, and brought it back. That caused four more jaunts to the same dimension to gather other damaged robots for a full examination.
“They did not try to repair them, only dismantled them for examination. The processes used in it's construction were within our grasp, and by redesigning the software of the computer, removing everything but the capability, not the direct intent of using force, they developed my design a year later.”
“Why not just reprogram them?”
“Dimension 185 is sealed, and no access is allowed from there or to there ever again.” She sighed. “Remember your Terminator movies? These belonged to a real Skynet which did cause a nuclear war, and is attempting the extermination Humanity there even now. Would you want to even try to just flip the switch and bring it to life here?
“My construction is just as robust as the terminators in your movies, and the programming they had can not be merely altered like it was in the second and third movies here. Let's just say that Skynet was smart enough to know that if one were captured, humans would try to use them against it. Their memories are hardwired rather than software.
“So if we had just 'rewitten' the progams and activated one, it would reactivate with the intent to destroy humanity in my dimension, and have full access to our own computers to do it.”
“But the terminators in the movies and the short lived TV show were an alloy chassis with human tissue covering it. Not biomechanical.”
“True. In the fourth Terminator movie here they were using magnetic mines that would literally attach themselves to terminators approaching a base. Something the original creator had not considered. My design is more like that used in a rather bad science fiction movie named Eve Of Desctruction made here in 1991. A robot indistinguishable from a human without literally taking it apart, that goes rogue when it is shot during a bank hold-up. It starred Gregory Hines and Dutch actress Renée Soutendijk.”
“So dad is dead here, what about your creator?”
“My creator, Toshiro Fujimoto was born the evening of August 5th, 1945 in the city of Hiroshima.” She looked at me sadly. “In this dimension, your Army Air Corps dropped the atomic bomb the next day. According to what I have learned by comparing the records to those of my home, he was in a hospital less than a kilometer from Ground Zero of that bomb when the city was destroyed.”
“So how do we get you home?”
“We don't.” She replied levelly. “While I know your father designed the original silver torus, and that the palladium one allowed dimensional travel, I do not have any of the specifications of a dimensional portal in my memory. We would not want one of the robots to be captured and examined, literally giving another technological dimension that knowledge. There is no guarantee that they would be as careful as we have been for the last decade.”
“But you were sent here!”
“She sighed. “That was an accident. In my world, your American government did invade Iraq back in 1991 during what you called Desert Storm. President Bush went further, pushing to Baghdad, captured Chemical Ali and Saddam Hussein, and after they were executed, bowed out.
“Five years later, an Islaamic fundamentalist government similar to your Iran arose, and during their war with the Shah's forces in our Iran happened to discover notes kept illegally by one of our researchers about the Project we had code named Mirror. That man had included enough clues that the Iraqi government were able to build a prototype that could have worked. I was part of the team that went in to stop them and destroy their project.
“However we arrived as they were running it up for their first test, and during the fighting, I was thrown through the gate, and ended up in Karbala, a stonghold of the Shi'a, who ran that government in our world. I had to escape from your Iraq through Saudi Arabia.”
“Then they would know...” She was shaking her head gently.
“The team was completely composed of other robots like myself. I was the one who set the charges in the portal room, and they had been set and activated before the grenade explosion that threw me through the gate. The charges would have already been set by others everywhere else, and the timers would have given them less than ten minutes to discover that I was missing, reach the portal room, read the dials, compute which dimension I was in, and carry them out before the charges blew. Therefore, they would have merely reported my loss.”
“But in the wreckage...” Again that head shake.
“What wreckage? The power needed to originally activate a gate is enormous, The full output from the Ostirak reactor was necessary just to charge the primary capacitor. As it is starting up, that power has to be reduced through the super-conductor capacitors over a period of hours, hours they did not have. Think of a half kiloton atomic bomb going off in the city in my world. Everything within over 100 meters of the gate would have been inside the fireball. Minimum safe distance would have been 3.5 kilometers, and even then the only ones that could survive that close would be my kind.
“Of course the explosion sealed the portal before your Karbala was destroyed. I merely awoke in the sewer system of the city because it is impossible to jaunt into solid matter, and the facility in my world was three hundred meters below ground.”
I stood. “This is too much for me. Care for something to drink? Or do you even have to drink?”
“My body is self suffiecient on internal nutrients for a period of fifteen years.” She replied. “However my programming does include social functions, such as meals or drinks. If you have it, my taste preference is for teas, especially green teas.”
“Green tea chai good for you?”
“Yes, that would be wonderful.”
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