Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Meta Corps: Dream of the Youth (Part 3)

  Chapter 3

             Lora had no idea why she knew how to fly. It was one of the things on her mind as she and Cindy flew straight up into the air. To Lora, flying upward was as fun a convertible car top as it screamed down the 405 freeway, which she thought was great for the summer heat. She didn’t dwell on it for long.
 Lora watched Cindy reach the pinnacle of her trip, and then suddenly dive down, her arms spread eagle and body twisting through the atmosphere. Lora got a look at how high she was and gasped. From 2,000 feet up, she could see for miles. Saddleback Mountain loomed at her left and Laguna Hills to her right, dwarfing before the ocean. Catalina Island was off in the distance, behind the veil of haze. Lora looked south and saw the forests and the populated deserts that south Orange County had to offer beyond Mission Viejo and Rancho Santa Margarita. The characteristic blue California sky blanketed the state with its warm embrace.
 Lora’s breath caught, and she fell after Cindy, letting her newfound instincts guide her. She twirled through the air, laughing up a storm in spite of leaving her stomach behind. She figured that if fighting crime was anything like the thrill of flying, than she was going to have a lot of fun.
 The two landed at Cindy’s apartment, a half mile south of Lora’s current home. Cindy rushed to the door and got her key out, leaving Lora behind.
 “Cindy, what are we doing?” Lora asked. A huge grin on her face refused to leave.
 A still hovering Cindy shooshed Lora and shoved the door open. It hit the wall with a loud bang, scaring her parents inside. Cindy flew to her room with an excited chortle and slammed that door shut.
 Lora peeked inside and saw Cindy’s parents, Tina and Norm. They looked at Lora.
 “What was that about?” Norm asked. He looked her up and down and pointed at her.
 “Is it you that she’s spazzing out over, Lora?”
 Lora chuckled with her hands behind her back and an uneasy expression as she floated inside. She showed off her wrists.
 “Umm, yep. I… I was in Costa Mesa when Sergei Slade attacked and I got the EnWol gauntlets. Cindy was there to see it. I’m unhurt from the kerfuffle, but this still happened. ”
 “What?” Tina asked.
Tina left her computer and approached Lora.
Norm paled and he looked uncomfortable. He fidgeted. Lora shook her head and placed her hand on his shoulder. He winced.
 “Oh, no, no, no, no. I can’t stretch, thankfully. I know how you feel about it, Mr. Richards.”
 Norm paid attention to his breathing and his voice warbled.
 “In spite of how squeamish I feel, it being…” he shuddered, “…weird. In spite of that, Lora, I’ve always, always been supportive of Cindy, her powers and her goal of being a hero.”
 Lora smiled.
“That’s so sweet. I admire that Mr. Richards.”
 Norm tried to smile, but he grimaced instead. Tina rubbed his back.
 “However did you find those, Lora? And isn’t stretching a part of being an EnWol?”
 Lora shrugged.
 “Oh, I don’t know. They just flew at me after the explosion, I think. Cindy saw my inauguration, went crazy and brought me here.”
They heard Cindy’s room door open.
 “Okay guys,” Cindy said to announce her presence, “I am now Flex Shapeoid!” She showed herself and made a strongman’s pose without deforming her body.
Cindy had changed her clothes from civilian to heroic, although, she wanted it to look more like a spy’s catsuit than bright spandex. Her new outfit consisted of a dark cerulean, slightly reflective tank top, low-rise jeans, gloves that extended to the elbow, and a pair of combat boots. All topped off with a choker, hair band, and sunglasses.
Tina looked at her daughter from the top of her glasses, an amused smile creasing her lips.
 “Flex Shapeoid?”
 Cindy nodded.
 “Yep. Flex-your-shape-oid. It had a nice ring to it.”
 Tina and Norm went back to their own computers.
 “Sounds a little hard to say.” Tina said. “It is spelled with the word ‘shape’ and the letters O-I-D at the end? If you want to go down that route, you might as well be Stretchoid.”
 “Eww.” Lora said.
 Cindy dropped her arms.
 “M’oooom! Picking a heroic sounding name is tough! I don’t want to fly around with a name like… like Super Girl or something stupid like that!”
 Norm chuckled.
 “Wasn’t it The Resilient Miss Flex last week? It was C-Girl for the longest time before that. What is a Shapeoid, anyway? Is it like a trapezoid?” He asked with a smile.
Lora never failed to notice Norm’s own resilience when it came to shrugging off Cindy’s elasticity.
 “Dad, The Resilient Miss Flex was a terrible name! I couldn’t go with that! What is a trapezoid anyway? Is it like a robotic mouse trap?”
 “I think it’s a shape, some kind of square?” Lora said with faint traces of a valley girl accent shining through.
 “What? Flex Trapezoid? Like, really, dad?”
 Tina stood up.
 “I have a concern, Cindy. Can you tell me where you are taking Lora? You came back in such a rush to change that you left us all in the dark. I’m sure that she’s had a rough enough day already.”
 Cindy’s smile broadened and she tensed up.
 “Okay, sorry, look. Lora, being EnWol is kinda a big deal, you know that.”
 Lora nodded.
 “Well, someone, a good friend like me, needs to show the newest member of the species where to go.”
 Lora pursed her lips to the side with mild bewilderment.
 Cindy didn’t miss a beat.
 “So, I’m taking you to see Helena Christophers in Huntington Beach. We could get you evaluated and signed up and everything!”
 Lora smiled.
 “Oh cool. Yeah, you mentioned her back home too. She stopped a bunch of bad guys from creating a radioactive Pittsburgh.”
Cindy nodded.
 “We’re still waiting for both a result and a movie from that trial too.”
 Lora nodded, and then stopped, a realization coming to her.
 “Wait, I’ll get signed up there? But I’m moving, Cindy, I can’t do that.”
 Cindy waved her hand.
 “Doesn’t matter, the main branch is in San Francisco. Besides, if you sign up at one, you’ve signed at all of them! You’re pretty lucky!”
 Cindy lost control of herself. She shook her fists and squealed again.
 “Oh, this is so exciting, Lora! I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to meet anyone who I knew when I left to be a hero, but now my girl is at the top of the tops!” Cindy screamed again. She fell into a fit of giggles while pitching backward in mid air.
 He three of them watched Cindy, slightly puzzled. Lora shrugged as if to say that ‘Cindy was Cindy.’
 Lora cleared her throat with a smile.
 “Well, gee, Cindy, if I didn’t know better, I would think that you got a new boyfriend.”
 “Hey, not in this house.” Norm said.
 Cindy looked up at Lora from being suspended upside down.
 “That would be stellar, grab something that would put a bigger shine on my face than this.”
Lora smiled.
 “That would be great.”
 Cindy swished upright and grabbed Lora’s hands.
 “Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s head out!” She started to fly out the door.
 “Cindy, stop. You’re waiting for me.” Norm got up and approached his daughter without pause.
 Cindy’s arms stretched out as Lora gasped, stumbled and almost fell over. Cindy twirled back, knowing what was coming. She let go of Lora and whined as she hovered near the ceiling, her arms shooting back to normal.
 “Oh no, Dad, please, not this time.”
 Cindy lowered to the carpet and Lora stood by patiently by standing with her feet in a T-pose.
 “When you’re here, Cindy, you will receive this lecture.” Norm said.
 Cindy moaned again and let her father speak.
 “Not everyone on this Earth is like Lora. There are people out there that would not hesitate to hurt you, especially in places like Meta Corps. There are people that can take you and manipulate you to do their own bidding.
 Now, I’m not saying that you’re gullible, never, but think about this. What if someone offers to help you learn to be a better hero, or lets you in on some kind of super serum that will enhance your powers without going crazy.”
 Cindy rolled her eyes.
 “Dad, that only happens in the comics.”
 Norm held his finger up.
 “I’m not done. What if you accept and the serum only lasts for so long. To get more, you need to do something for them and before you know it, you’ve gone and secured a lock for a room that was about to blow up and you only realize it until it’s too late. Sure you get your serum, but at what cost?”
 Cindy backed away, her face contorted in disgust.
 “Gaia, Dad.”
 Cindy glanced at Lora, herself in mild shock with her hand over her mouth.
 Norm nodded, wide eyed.
 “Yeah, I know! Where do you think these storytellers come up with the ideas for all the horrid things that Hyper Glass does? Who do you think Sergei Slade looks to for inspiration?”
 Cindy rolled her head and used what she learned from a lesson on sneering from Sarra.
 “I don’t have an addictive personality. I wouldn’t take such a serum anyway.”
 Norm clutched Cindy’s arms and slid them down past the cuff of her gloves. He held her wrists
 “Look sugar, I’m not for sheltering you in the least, or telling you to be ultra paranoid like my father did me. I’m saying to be careful, be very careful because you could be an accomplice to a headlining villain. I’m sure that your mother and I, and Helena would not be pleased with you if that happened.”
 Cindy rolled her eyes and puffed her cheeks with a sigh.
 “I get it dad. Don’t buy the watch from the street vender. I hear this every time I leave the apartment.”
 Norm looked Cindy in the eye; she could see his fear for her in his. Depending on the day, Cindy took the look as his worry, his shyness poking through or a means to suppress her. On that day of new discoveries, she believed the third option.
 Cindy looked up at him.
 “Okay Dad, fine. Umm, can we go?” She pointed out the door with one hand, her other stretching arm slunk to the door to open it. Norm nodded and looked the other way; his cheeks flushed.
 “Yeah, bye. Your mother and I love you, and we don’t want to see you get hurt.”
 Cindy opened the door with a smile.
 “You forget that the doctor said that I can’t get hurt, but whatever, see ya, come on Lora.”
 With a loud boom, Cindy was gone. Lora half trotted, half-floated to the entryway and bid Cindy’s parents a goodbye. They did the same and Lora followed her friend to the north, the metaphysical wings on her feet uncertain.
 Norm sighed and headed back to his computer. Tina frowned and got up to rub his back.
 “Sweetie, Cindy will be fine. Lora’s with her, and she has enough sense for the both of them.”
 “Lora’s moving away though, so that’s out.”
 Tina’s tone hardened a little; her hands moved to his shoulders.
 “There are other fish in the sea, Norm.”
 Norm smiled and grabbed Tina’s hand.
 “I know. I hope that Cindy doesn’t get a chance to see just exactly what I’m talking about first hand.”
 Tina rounded Norm’s seat to sit back at her computer.
 “They’ll both be fine, taffy.” Tina said.
 While still grasping Tina’s hand, Norms own arm elongated several feet across the table and he let go. He let it reel back slowly while looking up at the ceiling with a grimace.
 “Only my old man. Why did you have to be so stern about this?”

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