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An Habitual Offender, Chapter 6

Shockwave Repercussions

He stuck his head under the waterfall again, then threw it back, droplets slinging off his hair. Delicious. He settled himself down in the pool of water at the base, the black volcanic stones warm from the sunlight. The beach and breakers were just a few yards away. He’d built the lanai as close to the waterfall as he could. Pure, sweet water in abundance. All worth it.

He smiled. Worth it, now that Carolyn was here. She was coming up the path from the lanai, with a parasol over her shoulder. She was wearing high heeled beach sandals and a white thong. The sight of her perfect, tanned body was more than merely arousing. Beautiful woman. Perfect. Her brown hair had grown so much lighter with exposure to the sun and sea. Bucket after bucket of coconut oil kept her skin soft and smooth.

She stopped by the edge of the pool. “C’mon, honey. It’s about lunchtime. It’s your turn to make it, especially if you want a massage this afternoon.”

He laughed and stood up, then reached for his towel. “Sure thing, love.” He leaned forward to kiss her, but a rumbling sound made her turn her head away at the last moment. “What is it?”

“Thunder. I think that storm’s coming our way.”

He followed her gaze. Sure enough, storm clouds were forming to the north. That shouldn’t be a problem though, there was a strong wind out of the south. But they were coming closer, growing too rapidly… more lightning! He’d never seen anything like this in all the time he had lived here.

Carolyn put her hand on his arm. “I don’t like this. Let’s get back to the lanai.”

“Yeah.” He tied the towel around his waist and followed her back down the path. The wind was tossing the vegetation about as the cold outflow of the storm took over. More lightning and thunder, another order of magnitude louder.

Carolyn was on the verge of a run now. He felt raindrops on his back, large and chilly. A gust of wind nearly knocked him down. The parasol hit him in the face and then everything went dark as the clouds blocked the sun. Another flash of lightning blinded him. The thunder was becoming a constant hum of sound. Thunder. Lightning. Light. Sound.

He shook his head. Where was Carolyn? What was tugging at his arms and legs? He tried to call her name, but he couldn’t speak because something was covering his mouth. The weird blue lightning was the only illumination now.

He was floating spread-eagle in the air. Not flying. Something else was holding him up even though he felt a great weight tugging at his hands and feet. Something was wrong. He opened his eyes. The lightning flickers showed him that he was in a medium-sized chamber. There was a dark circle on the opposite wall. He stared at the circle until it resolved itself into a door. A great, heavy steel door. He was inside some sort of vault.

He looked at his right arm. A great metal globe encased his hands and wrist, covering up the bands. Ah. The ol’ plasma restraints. So much for the dream.

That thought startled him. Wait – was I really dreaming? He couldn’t deny it, distant memory though dreaming might be. What is happening to me? Am I losing my powers? What’s covering my head?

His cowl was still in place. He could hear the faint hissing of the radio in his earpieces. Something cold was against his lips. He pursed them slightly and felt bits of cold metal. A zipper. Then he recognized the smell. Leather. A leather hood with a zipper over the mouth. Oh, dear. This is not good. Then the door mechanism creaked to life. He studied the door while he had the chance. He made note of the hinges and pins. It was a big one, and he was not at all confident that he could have any effect on it.

The area outside the door was dark. Lights mounted above the door switched on, hurting his eyes. So, it’s to be psychological warfare. He opened one eye just a bit and saw someone stepping into the room.

She’d cast off the ill-fitting shock suit and stood before him in her midnight blue unitard. White cape, boots, and gloves. The capsules on her white wristbands glowed a pale green. Her cowl was midnight blue with an opening in the back to allow her thick, wavy auburn hair its’ freedom to distract him. Her eyes were the kind of blue found only at the very heart of a glacier. She was Ice Bird, his most dangerous opponent. His most dangerous love.

Dr. Shockwave’s desire for revenge had once again reached out from the grave. At least one member of the Shock Team still remained. Shockwave had managed to obtain bio-prints of the Offenders (except John). He’d kidnapped five people and re-engineered them into villains capable of negating the Offenders various powers.

His death in Jamaica delayed completion of the project, resulting in the Shock Team making their debut at the beginning of the Revengers - Offenders war. The Time War. Things had gone very badly for the good guys during much of that conflict. Realizing who she was had brought much of what was still missing back to him.

She had been methodically beating the shit out of him. He was staggering back across the rooftop after a vicious kick to the jaw. He backed into something and had to stop. He was getting desperate now, and sloppy. She came at him with a roundhouse right hand punch. He deflected the blow but his wristband made contact with hers. The blast of energy that resulted knocked them both down.

Perhaps that was why they never saw the Pariah sneaking up on them. He’d seen the beginnings of the fight and was waiting for a moment when he could take the advantage. He was prepared to double-cross everybody to gain control of the Temporal Warper.

Kevin regained his feet first and started swinging. He had a faint hope of keeping her boxing instead of blasting him with her deathly cold rays. He had her off balance for a moment and pressured her back. She made a wild swing with her left hand and he stopped it with an open palm, then closed his hand around hers. She let out a howl of frustration and came at him with a right. He was ready for her and grabbed that hand too. She tried to head butt him but he leaned back just in time. She bellowed at him again and they began grappling.

Kevin was puzzled at the change in her behavior. Up to this point she had lived up to her name. Cold, calculating, and ruthlessly logical, she’d led the Shock Team against the Offenders, issuing orders in a voice devoid of all humanity.

But now something different was in her eyes – confusion. She seemed to have lost a bit of strength and he forced her arms down without really thinking about what he was doing. He was looking at her and he saw her changing before his eyes, from a heartless machine of destruction to something more like a regular human woman.

She was hovering between these two states when the Pariah threw his time stop field on them. The propagation delay was long enough for Kevin’s hands to shift and their wristbands to make contact once more, but short enough to prevent the explosion that should have occurred. The pariah couldn’t completely stop time, but he could slow it down to an essentially unmeasurable speed.

Unmeasurable, perhaps to an observer. Inside the bubble it was a very different experience. The real horror of it all was that while the body might be immobile in the field, the mind was completely conscious of the experience. They stood there, hand in hand, band to band. They were staring into each other’s eyes – staring into each other’s soul. Their nervous systems were linked through the wristbands, joining their minds together so totally that no distinction between them existed. Her name was Sandra Thompson. With the time flow approaching absolute zero they had a very, very long period in which to think about things. An extended moment of truth and beauty that he had been certain that he’d never feel again. Fusing with Sandra was like something he’d experienced with Linda, only more so. Much more so.

He had seen the real Sandra Thompson. What she was before she’d been rebuilt and reprogrammed – what she could be. She was a beautiful presence in the world and he had fallen utterly, totally, and completely in love with her.

Icebird’s cold, emotionless voice interrupted his reverie. “My labors have produced the desired results. You are neutralized.” She took a few steps closer. “You will suffer for your transgressions.”

Okay, he was scared. He was really fucking scared. “Sandy, why are you doing this?” The mask of course rendered his speech indecipherable. Three more steps brought her close enough to unzip his mouth. A whisker on his upper lip got yanked by the slider, and he flinched. “Sandy, don’t do this.”

Her hand reached out with lightning speed, yanking his head up and back. Her face was right against his now, eyes burning with mania. “Shut up, BITCH!” She threw his head back down. “I’ll do to you what you did to me!”

Her actions had surprised him, to say the least. He did not raise his head right away. The only sounds besides the crackling of the plasma beams were her slow steps around the room. When she finally stopped, he looked up.

“You held me captive. You used me for your pleasure.” She’d gone cold again. Angry Man was considering the possibility that Shockwave had hidden other things in her mind, perhaps even a complete copy of himself.

Kevin continued to appeal to what he hoped was still in there somewhere. “Sandy, that’s not true – I loved you! I never meant to harm you.”

She walked towards him again. He tried to count how many steps she took to cross the room. He was, however, distracted by the fact that she still looked great. Presumably her regeneration capabilities were still functioning as well as his own. Oh, goddess, I am a perv.

She was standing in front of him now. He had to raise his head to look at her, and he finally comprehended that he was floating about neck high to her. She wound up and smacked his cheek hard with the back of her hand. It was frigid, and the cold caused him more pain than the blow itself.

“You ruined my plans!” Her voice had changed again. Now she sounded more like a woman pretending to be a man. “You destroyed my beautiful face! You took my life!” She turned away from him and began to pace. “You worm! You shit! You… wretched, little nothing, you killed me!” She whirled around to face him again, eyes blazing.

Which personality should he talk to? “Yeah, I killed you. But I saved Sandy! Time and again! Sandra Thompson, I love you. It’s not to late to stop this.”

She did not respond, but she did walk over towards him. She reached out a hand and savagely yanked his head back. “You RAPED ME!” Her voice had changed again, a third distinct voice. Sandra’s voice. “You knew I wasn’t in my right mind! You knew I wouldn’t want to stay if I had been! You held me back!”

The last part of what she said was not true, but the first part… well, he had to think about that. Did I? It had taken months for the Big O to restore Sandra’s personality. In the meantime, the overwhelming experience of the accidental mind meld had made the pair all but inseparable. There had been lots of sex. He wasn’t in his right mind either at that point, but he couldn’t use that to excuse anything. I had no willpower, only desire. Damn! She’s right, I’m wrong.

There had come a point when she told the Big O that she’d had enough therapy. She was going back to Seattle to try and pick up the few pieces of her former life, and maybe someday finish what she’d started up there in Alaska. She’d disappeared while on walkabout one summer long ago…

“I was so lonely after you’d gone…” She’d let go of his head while he was sorting his memories. It was hanging low now, and he lowered it even further in shame. “I was so lonely before…”

He thought he heard her tapping her foot. He was on the verge of tears and not really sure of anything. Then she made a satisfied ‘Hmmph’ kind of sound. He heard her footsteps recede again. The lights went out and the door began its’ closing sequence.

An Habitual Offender by
Kevin L. Corridon is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.