Strange Talents

Alarin's picture

Manning First Line's office in the Orbital Defense System was always such a drag. The international crew was always bickering, and most of them didn't trust the superheroic presence in their midst overly much, even though the ODS existed only thanks to Protanya, Ten Kelvin, Cydriver, and others. The teleporter wouldn't even turn on without approval from the UN headquarters elsewhere on the same ship.

Even with all the animosity, disasters were few and far between, and even those were more along the lines of "terrifying" than "exciting." The very reason for the ODS, alien threats, had not approached Earth since the end of the Tyrathi War. That's not to say the ODS wasn't helping with that- it had been fashioned from the remains of the Tyrathi fleet that had come to take over Earth. Nothing says, "Back off," like hundreds of broken ships from the greatest intergalactic empire in existance.

All in all, this was at the same time the most essential and the most boring duty of a member of First Line, especially when you were Pivot, acrobat and crimefighter extrordinaire with perfect balance and a smile dazzling enough to catch any villain off guard. It was even worse when she considered how much more useful these talents could be on the dance floor of her highschool homecoming than up here in space.

"Lightning Shard can be such a dick," she said from the high-tech, multi-monitor workstation she was sitting in. She absently moved her mouse from one monitor to the other and back again. "He only gave me this stupid duty because I have a dance tonight and I could get away more easily."

"I'm pretty sure he gave it to you because it's your turn."

Sitting behind her at a backup workstation was the slightly older and annoyingly more experienced American Marvel. He was scrubbing the visor of his red, white, and blue painted motorcycle helmet, trying to remove something he had described earlier as "a zombie stain." Since he sometimes took that helmet off to use it as a weapon, though, he still had a mask on.

"I put in for a transfer five times," she retorted, spinning in her chair to fix the back of his head with a glare. "It's not like I didn't know this was coming up."

"Welcome to the life," said an unsympathetic Marvel, not turning or even glancing up from his helmet.

"Well, at least he's in the shower. If I had to sit across from that stone-cold stare of his for eight hours without a break I would stick my staff through my head." In addition to being one of the most powerful beings on Earth, Lightning Shard was an amazing fighter and a truly gifted commander. Plus, he pulled more ODS duty than any other Firsty, so Pivot had to give the man credit. But like many great men in their times, he was as serious as a heart attack and talking to him was like exercising: it's productive and you know you have to do it, but it feels great when you stop.

The American Marvel chuckled. "Why would a guy like that shower? Wouldn't that field of his just evaporate any dirt on his body?"

"I dunno. I'm just glad he is."

"Gah! Stupid stain!"

"'Zombie stain.' You said so yourself." Pivot watched the hourly system-wide brief go across the screen mounted in the corner of their cramped office. Two minor vehicle malfunctions and a small fire. No wonder they hadn't been called.

"I'm going to see if there's anything more powerful in the bathroom." The American Marvel got up and walked out of the office. For a guy whose only power was flight, Marvel walked around a lot. In fact, Pivot had only ever seen him fly while fighting or rescuing.

That was a mistake, actually. Flight wasn't his power - it was one way of using his power. By concentrating, the American Marvel could break free of anything - or rather, he could make anything break off of him. She had seen chains, handcuffs, and once a locked car litterally explode off of him. "Gravity," he had told her once, "is just another chain."

At least the workstation had internet access, and Lightning Shard didn't mind if members on duty surfed the web or even if they played games - little ones like solitaire and pinball, not RAM-eating MMORPGs - as long as they were always ready to do their job. Pivot was fooling around on Neopets when Marvel burst back in. "Pivot," he said with a huge grin on his face, "you have GOT to come hear this."

"But ... the office ... we're the only ones here ..."

"It'll take five seconds. Hurry!"

Marvel dissapeared out the door once more. Worried that the alarm might go off and Lightning Shard would catch them away from the office, Pivot's curiosity overcame and she got up and followed.

In the hallway, Marvel put his finger to his lips to tell her to stay quiet, then motioned into the men's locker-room. Pivot screwed up her face in disbelief. "Are you NUTS!?" she whispered harshly. "Shard's in there! And it says 'MEN' on that sign. Is the skin-tight costume not enough of a HINT?"

Marvel snickered. Speaking slowly and deliberately, he said, "You can not miss this." He led the way into the locker room. Pivot snorted in disgust, rolled her eyes and followed, knowing for sure she'd regret this.

But she didn't.

Once she was inside, Marvel's enthusiasm became completely understandable. Over the gentle noise of the shower, the two young superheroes could hear the voice of their leader singing a perfect rendition of "Unforgettable."

Marvel looked down at her, supremely smug. Pivot smiled with wide, victorious eyes and shook her head. They scrambled out of the locker room and back to the office.

"He SINGS!?" she exclaimed as she paced manically around the room. "He sings. In the shower. He sings jazz-oldies in the shower."

The American Marvel sat leaning back in his chair. "Told you."

Pivot stalked over to him, put her hands on the arms of Marvel's chair, and looked straight into his mischievious eyes with an impish stare of her own. "We are SO gonna get him with this."

World Tag: 
World of Heroes