Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Meta Corps: Dream of the Youth (Part 10)

  Chapter 12

             “I know that for a fact that I’m fired for sure. The process is taking too long. They probably already sent out a search warrant for Anne. Those release documents won’t work; they’ll see right through them. This is bad. This is bad.” Garner muttered to himself and paced the floor. Although he was worried, the promise of realizing Anne’s abilities kept him from acting out against the research.
 Morgan had no such thoughts. She had been hammering away at Anne, scanning her psychic powers, checking the strength of her ability from various readouts, and running off on odd tangents. Since the tests had begun, Morgan had learned that Anne was far more intriguing than Garner had originally made her out to be.
Garner stared at his computer. Anne’s anxiety levels had dropped since she was first placed in Morgan’s tank. Garner looked up at the child and she stared back. Anne floated in a tube of highly oxygenized liquid, giving her and the world around her an orange hue. Morgan had put a spell on it that would keep Anne from phasing out. Garner waved while a knot of grief cooked in his stomach. Anne harrumphed and his heart flittered.
Garner was responsible for Anne; he wondered why he let Morgan talk him into going the whole hog and kidnap her, even with forged papers. He felt his cooking knot long to relieve a burst of sudden pressure. He balled his fists and stepped up to Morgan. She was engrossed in her console covered with graphs and readouts of Anne’s power.
 “Look, I’m already fired, I can just feel it, but do we still need to keep Anne here?”
 Morgan looked up at him from an incline, her eyes half-closed and unreadable. Garner pointed at Anne.
 “I was responsible for making sure that one of the most powerful metas in recorded modern history was content. What if she suffers irreversible trauma from this experience?”
 Garners face paled.
 “Oh, great Gaia with an apple pie, what if she is traumatized by this experience? How will we cope with her if she becomes a criminal?”
 Morgan sneered and tried to ignore her ranting partner.
 “Anne would tunnel through buildings for goods while harnessing her ability to project her thoughts, rendering her presence a non-issue; people’s eyes will just slide off of her.”
 Morgan shut her eyes and sighed. Her anger was bubbling up.
 “Pretty soon, our economy would falter because she has all the worlds’ goods and we would have nothing. She could vibrate her atoms too quickly and leave fires in her wake as well.”
 Morgan smacked the console and stood up. Garner yelped; his full attention was on her.
 “Was this not your idea?” She asked. Morgan took a step toward him.
 Garner sputtered more than he gave an answer. Morgan spoke over his retort as she strode toward him.
 “Was this not your request of me?”
 More sputtering. More advancing. A fit of retreating. Anne and Clive watched them from across the room.
 “Am I doing exactly what you asked of me?”
 More sputtering. More advancing. A fit of retreating.
“Are we getting the results that you wanted?”
 Garner nodded.
 “Well, yes, but, you see…
 “Are we hurting her?”
 “No, but there are psychological—”
 “Then there is no problem here.”
 Morgan turned on her heel and went back to her workstation.
 Garner felt like crying.
 “To ensure that there is no problem, Doctor,” she spat the word, “I would suggest that you adjust your ghastly disproportionate sputtering to coherency ratio and continue with your research.”
 Garner stole a glance to his left to see Clive staring down at him. Garner sighed and went back to his station with a dark cloud looming over him.
 Morgan looked at her display and at Anne. Her readings seemed to have peaked, her telekinesis, projection and tunneling appeared to have reached a cap. Morgan thought back to the catalyst for her own independent testing with Anne. Her original idea of expiration was proven wrong when she had to transfer one meta human power set to another just over fifteen years prior. This gave her plenty of ideas to mull over. Anne’s potential had not been reached, and Morgan knew from experience that more power would be needed for ample results. She was too far on her own tangent to turn back and leave the young Anne alone.
 Morgan sneered and adjusted some settings to her liking.
 “At least there… was no problem, Doctor…”
 Morgan pressed a button and Anne jerked at attention. Garner watched as Anne’s head shuddered. She started to scream. Morgan smiled, her data exploding. She read it quickly, stumbling over some of it.
 “Yes… yes…”
 Garner watched Anne, feeling her pain. His knot burst.
 “Morgan, you have pushed this too far, you’re amplifying her powers to her wits end. You need to let her go!”
 Morgan glanced at Garners approach and waved her hand.
 “Clive, dispose of him.”
Garner latched onto a console as Clive shot up and picked him up.
 “Morgan, no! I won’t let you break—”
 The test chamber exploded.
Clive swore as he dropped Garner, letting the fluid and glass projectiles slide through his body. Morgan ducked behind the console. Anne was screaming. Morgan checked the console; the dials were rising steadily and Anne was generating a gale force of wind.
 “Good. As long as she’s in the area, she’ll produce ample readings.” Morgan said.
 Clive shook his head. Anne was growling, trying to suppress her power.
 “She seems too preoccupied to try and escape. What did you do to her?”
 Garner gapped at Anne. He pulled on what little hair he had left.
 “What are you doing? Prematurely boosting her power was not part of my plan Morgan. There may be unexpected side effects and consequences that could befall Anne and the entire country, the world even. You don’t know what you’re doing!”
 “Everything… is under control. William. Clive, get him out of here.”
 “No! I need to—” Clive slapped him and then dropped him. Vertigo swam in Garner’s head and stars floated in front of him.
“That should shut you right up.”
 Clive sneered at the girl. Anne’s fingers were curling and images of blood and sharp lines surrounded her like an aura.
 “Say, mum, do you think that he might have a point about…”
“Out!” She yelled, and pointed outside.
 Clive made a face.
 “Fine, I’ll see him out and do whatever else blows your skirt up…”
 Morgan was lost on the statement. She had chosen to wear her sleeveless black catsuit with flat boots to prevent herself from catching on stray debris. Morgan dismissed the remark and got back to work.
 Clive plucked Garner from off the floor. He swore wordless threats as the world spun around him. He noticed that the light had intensified after a moment and that his hip struck concrete and demanded all of his attention. He moaned and Clive locked the door.
 Garner shook his head to relieve himself of his lightheadedness, and pulled his cell phone from his pocket. He ignored the cracked screen and called up the single most important number in his speed dial.
 Three rings.
 “Hello, Meta Corps dispatch, this is Rachel, what is the nature of the call?”
 Before Garner could answer, all of the windows burst outward and shattered. Garner yelled.
“Sir? Sir, I heard an explosion, where are you?”
 Garner tried to stand, but his hip protested too much. A red glow exuded from the windows accompanied by the sound of Anne’s sobbing. Garner licked his lips, feeling her pain and wondering how Morgan could stand to put her in that situation.
 Garner drew strength from within.
 “Ma’am, I’m at a warehouse in Dogpatch, just off 20th street near pier 70, and I’m dealing with a crazy woman! The address is…”
 A large shadow swallowed the sunlight below him. Garner looked up to see a dark vortex swirling in the sky and growing bigger by the second.
 “Oh my…”
 Garner’s eyes rolled up into his head and his vertigo returned in spades to help displace his consciousness. He fell to his back as Rachel tried to coax more information from him.

                               Chapter 13

             “Clark…. Country wide interest in metas is going down the drain, again.” Florence said. She twirled her finger above her computer screen showing a line graph.
 Clark Sanders never wanted to leave the forties, as outwardly indicated by his beige work shirt and suspenders. People had class back then and, to him, the modern world was nothing but bad music and sensationalism. He slicked his burgundy hair back and walked over to Florence.
 “Are they complaining about how EnWol are too powerful again, Dilly.”
 The graph illustrated overall interest in meta humans and how it has been declining since the second world war. There was a sharp rise in 1977 when Meta Corps subsidiaries, Aviator Films released the first modern and well-made EnWol movie, with Cave Comix releasing tie-in comic books. Since the start of the millennium, interest and sales have declined, with the lowest point being in autumn of 1992. The company had extremely high insurance issues from citywide crime fighting coupled with general utilities and other fees. There were predictions that said that Meta Corps would collapse in 2012 unless they either came out with a killer franchise or forced a global takeover.
Florence shook her head.
“We can’t have any more slopes or else we’ll have to close some branches.” She said. She fingered the line from the war and traced it up and down into the present. Clark shrugged.
 “Well, at least the mutations are prevalent enough so that there’s a steady trickle coming in for medical study and power harnessing. Hey, I still think that hiring on writers that paint EnWol as overpowered is part of the problem. Barely anyone knows how to write us and it comes off badly. It’s a danger to the innocents that drives good stories, not EnWol.”
Florence nodded.
 “Our greatest gift is our greatest curse, although, I’m not sure if that trickle that you mentioned will be enough.” Florence said. She started to think aloud.
“Our students and heroes pay for their own tuition, but there isn’t an insurance firm that will touch us; that’s what’s been killing us for the longest time now…”
Clark walked around the desk.
 “We could look at a merger with someone, or license some of our lesson plans out to drum up interest. Give up the monopoly.”
 Florence leaned back in her seat.
 “I don’t know. I had thought of that a while ago, but I’m worried that our own tactics will be used against us. Aviator is too overblown to be practical, but actually exporting our services to others…” Florence trailed off.
 Clark cracked his knuckles out of habit; his EnWol hands bent in random directions.
 “I know that in this job you can afford to be paranoid, what with every single person signing non-disclosure agreements, but it might help us out.”
 Clark stretched his neck out to study the monitor again.
 “At least the entertainment district isn’t making us look like fools anymore.”
 Florence laughed at his remark, remembering her cartoon from the eighties that gave eco-friendly advice without any entertainment value. She leaned back to reminisce.
Clark retracted his neck and made his way to the window. He frowned and focused his attention to a point in the sky behind the trees.
 “You know what the worst part about The Little Squirts is?” Florence asked.
 “What’s that?” He asked with an odd quality.
 “The distributer is capitalizing on the nostalgia niche with shirts and videos. I told them that…” Florence stopped. She frowned.
Clarks question was right, but the tone was wrong. She stretched her neck out to his side and joined him without leaving her seat. Clark glanced at her and pointed at a dark, pulsating cloud peaking up over the tree line.
 “I haven’t the foggiest idea what that is,” Florence said, “but it looks bad. Call for a dispatch, I’ll see who’s available”
 Clark nodded, fingering an imaginary pole sticking out of his mouth.
 “I wish I had a cigarette… being EnWol has made it hard to use… or, hey, even really want one.”
 Florence resumed her normal shape.
 “What would the Little Squirts think of that?” She said with a playful smile. Clark chuckled as the dark cloud in the distance raged. 

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