(SK’s Note: I know the title is really dumb, but I’m not feeling imaginative right now.)
Erin Jacobs flopped down on her bed, her black hair strewn across it. “Agh… I REALLY need a job…” She turned over and studied the newspaper intently.
“Junk… junk… Aha! Here we are…” She spread out the want ads over her worn bedspread. Erin flipped through most of the jobs desponded. “Computer analyst… waitress… Hmm.. That might work…” She ripped the waitress ad out of the paper and continued looking. “Grocery bagger… maid service… “ Erin tore those out and continued looking. “What’s this?” She drew her finger down the ad. “’Intern wanted at Meridiana High School. Pays $10 an hour.’” Erin shrugged. You never know…
Erin walked down the street, shoulders slumped. “Stupid, stupid me…” she berated herself. “Now all that’s left is that intern thing…” She sighed, getting ready for another rejection.
Lori Anderson walked down the hall dreamily. Her next class was English Lit, with her total-absolute-favorite teacher, Mr. Adrian Seidelman. As she passed by the principal’s office, her ears perked up at the sound of a new voice inside. “That’s weird… I didn’t know the school was hiring…” But as soon as she walked through the door, all thoughts of it vanished.
“Yes!” Erin danced through the halls happily. “I got the job!” She cartwheeled once, then stopped, frozen, cheeks flushing with color.
As soon as she was sure that no one saw her little ’dance’ she raced out of the school, back to her apartment. The 17 year old had just moved to Meridiana, and she considered herself lucky to find a place to live, even with such short notice. “Well,” she thought, “it’s kind of a rip, but I think I can squeeze by.”
Erin jogged up to her apartment, only to be stopped by her cranky landlord, Mr. Creen. “Oh, hi, Mr. Creen,” she called cheerfully. He only squinted at her. “Rent’s due next week, “ he grunted. “You got the money?”
Erin’s elation disappeared. “Oh! Oh, yeah, sure, I got the money,” she said with false cheer. But as soon as she reached her apartment, she collapsed on her bed. “Oh, DARN!” she moaned. “The rent!! I forgot all about it! That’s over-” she did some quick calculations- “$175 dollars! Where am I gonna get that kind of money?!”
An uneasy thought crossed her mind. “I know one way…”
As night fell over the sleeping city, a slim, shadowy form flitted across the rooftops. With inhuman abilities, it leaped from roof to roof with amazing agility. It touched down softly in front of a bank. It was clearly visible now. ‘It’ was a female, dressed in a sleeveless bodysuit/trenchcoat with heeled boots.
She crept along the edges of the bank until she could peek in.
“Hurry up, you dolts! I haven’t got all night! The police will be here soon!” Jose shouted. Tall, green Fixed Ideas scurried back and forth, obeying the pint-sized boy’s every command. The female outside smacked herself. “Darn… Someone beat me to it!”
She took a deep breath, darted inside, bowled two Fixed Ideas over, snatched up a handful of currency, and was gone like a wisp of smoke.
Jose blinked, not fully comprehending what had just happened. “Well, go and catch her, you fools!” he shouted. The Fixed Ideas slammed into each other a few times before running off to find the elusive female.
Jose rubbed his head. “I’m surrounded by idiots.”
The female kept on running, leaping and dodging to avoid the dumb but strong Fixed Ideas, now hot on her tail. She chanced a quick look over her shoulder and promptly smashed into something. “Oof!!!”
Whatever she had collided with had a mind of it’s own, snarling, clawing and thrashing. She lashed out, getting in a few hits. When they rolled away, she saw that her opponent was a large, black panther. “Well, geez, now they got PANTHERS in this city?!”
A tall, slim woman dressed in black with a cape and hat landed next to the panther. “Data 7, are you all right?”
“Who the heck are you?” the female demanded. “Aw, great, you made me lose all my money!” The hard ‘earned’ cash was floating away on soft tendrils of wind. The female sighed. “Oh, well, easy come easy go.”
Cybersix crossed her arms. “I think I should be asking YOU that question.”
The female stuck out her tongue in response and lashed out firecely. Cybersix dodged the blow barely.
Cybersix tried flipping the girl over the edge of the roof, but the girl - whoever she was - was too fast, even for her. The female raced toward her and raised her fist. Then all of a sudden, the girl stopped, smiled, stuck out her hand and annouced: “Hi, I’m Stryk12. I’m a genetically enhanced freak from Von Richter’s lab. What did he do to you?”
Cybersix blinked. “Excuse me?”
“This is all the rage in Canada. You know, ‘conversation’? I hear it’s a really good way to get to know one another…”
“Cybersix.” She reached out warily and shook Stryk’s hand. Stryk grinned, a cold, hard smile. “Be glad you weren’t working for Von Richter.”
A Fixed Idea crashed up to the roof, bringing a few friends along with him.
“Darn, I forgot about these guys.”
Stryk ran forward and slammed her fist into the first Fixed Idea. Cybersix shrugged and ran up to lend a hand.
As Stryk flipped a Idea over the edge of the roof, she flicked out a set of 8-inch shining tan claws from her hands and followed the Idea down.
She landed lightly next to it. “Game over.”
The Fixed Idea crumpled and vanished in a puff of smoke. Stryk rooted around the Idea’s clothes and produced the green, glowing vial.
Cybersix touched down next to her, Data 7 right behind her. “Hey,” she said, slightly miffed, “I need that.”
Stryk shrugged and tossed the vial to a surprised Cybersix. “Help yourself.”
Cybersix eyed the vial warily. “What’s wrong with it? I thought all of Von Richter’s creations needed sustenance.”
“Well, I don’t- “ Energy sparked at Stryk’s temples, spraying out a stream of sparks. “Oh… darn… I guess … I needed… more than… I thought…” She bent over double, gasping in pain.
Cybersix rushed over to her. “Are you okay?”
“Just… get me… to the… school…” she gasped.
Data 7 led the way for Cybersix and a barely coherent Stryk.
“No… stay away… he’ll get you too…” she mumbled.
Cybersix stopped. “Who? What? Who’ll get me?”
Stryk just shook her head and continued mumbling.
Cybersix ripped open the lock on the school doors and helped Data 7 drag Stryk in. “Where do you want us to go?” she asked.
She was barely coherent, but she managed a weak “Take me to the chemical lab.”
Inside the lab, Stryk pulled out a few wires and a energy transfuser. “Plug… it into… the outlet there…”
As Cybersix complied, Stryk connected the wires to her temples and to the backs of her hands. When done, she looked like a living battery.
Stryk reached over and pulled a switch. Electricity shot up the transfuser, then transformed into pure energy. She let out a primal scream, then grit her teeth. Energy surrounded her, entering every cell, molecule and circuit she had.
Cybersix and Data 7 could only watch in horror and fascination.
Lucas Amato jerked upright from where he had fallen asleep. “What on earth was THAT?” he thought. “That sounded out of this world!” He pushed himself out of his chair and headed outside.
The energy finally slowed down. Stryk’s tense body relaxed and she slumped forward, wires hanging loosely around her body.
Cybersix cautiously ventured near. “Stryk?”
Lucas barged in. “WHAT’S GOING ON IN - Oh, hi, Cybersix.”
Stryk bounced upright, ripped the wires free from her body and took up a fighting stance, all in one swift movement, eyes sparking. “Who the heck are you and what the heck are you doing here?!”
Cybersix tried to pacify the irate Stryk while trying to convince Lucas that she wasn’t an alien. “Stryk, he’s a friend. A good one. Lucas, she’s not going to kill you. (I think.) Stryk, would you PLEASE sit down!”
Leaning on the counter edge, Stryk chewed on a pencil absently. She made a face, spitting out shards of pencil. “Phtoo!” She eyed Lucas suspiciously. “I don’t trust this guy…”
Lucas crossed his arms. “The feeling is mutual.”
Cybersix sighed, at a loss for words. “Stryk…” she began slowly, “What were you doing to yourself? Were you trying to commit suicide or something?”
Stryk snorted. “Hardly. that’s how I keep my cyborg circutry at bay.” She kept on chewing her pencil, as it were perfectly normal to have cyborg circutry in oneself.
Cybersix nodded, the fog lifting. “Ohhhh… so THAT’S why you don’t need sustenance! You’re a cyborg!”
“HALF cyborg.” she corrected.
“So, what’s the other half?” Cybersix hesitated, afraid to say ‘creature’ in front of Lucas. Stryk seemed to get her gist, however. “Human.”
Lucas snorted. “No, duh.” He had long ago given up being surprised by anything.
Cybersix felt a rush of envy towards the young girl. Stryk felt it and retaliated. “And don’t think that just because I’m human I got it easy!” she warned. “That’s how I get my ‘sustenance’ - from pure electricity! And you saw how horrible it is to go through it!”
Silvery light glinted off her temples, shoulders and hands where circutry showed through. She turned her head just in time to see a faint streak of sunlight break across the sky. “Oh, drat it all, time’s up.” Stryk dashed out between the two and yanked the door off their hinges, surprising a very startled janitor. In less than two minutes, she was gone from sight. Cybersix started to follow suit.
“Wait!!” Lucas jogged forward and screeched to a stop. “You’ll keep me informed, right?’
Cybersix nodded and headed back to her apartment to get ready for her day job - teaching as Adrian Seidelman.
(How’s my writing? Okay? Horrible? Pulitzer Prize winning? Not good enough for the garbage can? Email me!)