Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language and violence.
"So what do you think?" I blinked for a moment, digesting the question in less then a second when I realized it was directed at me. Jess had an eyebrow already raised in a numbing glare, and I ended up mumbling under my breath, "Sorry. Head in the clouds." I couldn't help the private quip, unfortunately.
A small yet deceptively strong hand met my shoulder in a hard slap. Carla's voice was heard, barely, as my mind threatened to fall back into the addictive embrace of sleep. "She was asking you if you think Solar and Gemstone might be a little too into each other. Total bull, by the way." The no doubt handprint-bruise stung, but it kept me farther from Morpheus than my water did. I took a sip anyway as Jess and Carla began arguing about the super's relationship status than discussing the busy work Mr. Manning had passed out.
When I was done, my hearing, filled with my own thoughts/static, began to filter out what was being said between my two friends.
"-and then he just holds her! Look at that!" That was Jess. She was pointing to the video playing on her phone, one where Solar, a yellow and red guy who was glowing, was carrying Gemstone, a glistening statue of a woman made of emerald, in a tight bridal carry. "If that isn't love, what is?"
"I think you're forgetting, oh sweet Jessie, that they're heroes!" Carla argued. I didn't try to tell her to keep quiet, everyone else was also loud. "Their literal job, Jess, is to save people's lives. Also, everyone knows Solar isn't that good at flying." I didn't tell the two that Solar also had no enhanced strength, and that Gemstone likely weighed more than your average girl. Woman. I could never tell.
Jess, in her always present seriousness, didn't react all that much beyond the tightening of her lips in a scowl. "Either way, it's obvious they care for each other more than 'teammates' should."
"Have you seen Gemstone? I'm pretty sure anyone would care about a literal seven foot tall amazon on their side." Carla rebuked. Jess had no obvious argument there, since she sputtered out an excuse under her breath and took a drink from her thermos by her side. Carla smirked in her victory, and then turned to me. "Hey, what did you get for number three?"
I didn't bother speaking, seeing as she took it from under my pencil to 'take a look.' Then my phone rang. Carla blinked, then teasingly pointed her pencil at the disturbance in my pocket. "Looks like someone has a little convo to make with a certain someone else~", she said in a sing-song tone. I rolled my tired eyes and took it out just as her phone rang too. Jess smirked at the irony of it, and her phone rang. Soon enough, wide eyes of panic and trembling hands answered the devices in their pockets, and I had a bad feeling on who might be calling everyone in a school.
I answered first, and suddenly everyone's phones were speaking. "Hello, one and all!" A loud voice shouted. The projector came on, and the resulting picture made my earlier tiredness disappear in a rush of adrenaline and sharp pains in my arms.
"I am Technomon! Pleased to meet you all!" The woman on the projector said in an annoyingly cheery voice. She was dressed in a way you would expect a cyborg to be. Fully steel-colored limbs, a glowing red eye, and a tight leotard that showed off whatever actual flesh she left of her body. She continued as I quietly grabbed my backpack and backed up to the door. "I'm here today at Conner High because I was told by a little birdy that a certain teenage vigilante was absent."
Absent? That means she didn't know about me. But wait, who else went here... I shook my head. It doesn't matter, I just need to get to a bathroom or something and get my costume on. I didn't listen to her finish as I rushed out of the classroom and aimed for the girl's room.
A couple stragglers were inside, watching Technomon's live footage, and I thought quick of an excuse to get them out. "What are you doing!? The school's being evacuated, get out!" They didn't dally, and soon enough they were running out. I closed and locked the door behind them before they could question me about where everyone else was, and I pulled off my clothes. Soon, my jeans, blouse, and jacket were in my backpack, and my costume wrapped around me. A mix of flexible graphene, polyester, and carbon fiber, it was a tight, dark navy blue across the majority of my body. Gray spots of an inflexible plastic were wrapped around my knuckles, wrists, ankles, back, and chest. They lit up a light yellow-red as I flexed my power on them, small tendrils of equally yellow-red lightning trailing my body. I was quick to attach my facemask, and stood on a toilet to hide my backpack in the ceiling.
My phone, which I drained and charged to get past Technomon's livestream, started to ring again. I check the number, and found that it was Tinman. I hid it in one of my hidden pockets and rushed out of the bathroom, answering it through the mask through a series of blinks and tongue movements. "Conduit, I see you're wearing the new outfit. Tell me, how's it feel?" I didn't answer until I was downstairs. "Tinman, Technomon's invaded my school. She has moles here that know the secret identity of a vigilante that goes here, not me!" I shouted that last part before he could ask if it were me. "Someone else! I don't know their civvy identity or their alter ego, and Technomon's minions might already have integrated into the school. Can you make it here in around three minutes, maybe?"
He didn't answer for a moment, and as I ran through the halls, I found one of Technomon's minions. A terrible mishmash of animal parts, cybernetic enhancements ranging from bipedal legs to cybernetic railguns, they were tall and resembled some obscure horror movie serial killer. It seemed this one, some fox-hybrid, noticed me too and was already taking aim with what looked like a red-dot shoulder cannon. As I run just a little faster than the average human could feasibly accomplish, and dodged under the subsequent fireball that was fired towards me, Tinman answered. "Okay, one, you didn't answer my question, or even say hi!" The fox-cyborg seemed to squeal in anger that it missed, and I shot at it myself with a bolt of lightning. The yellow-red bolt slammed into its leg with force, enough for it to take a knee. As I moved into to follow with an electrified elbow to the metal snout, Tinman continued. "And two, yes I can be there fast. Technomon, you said?" The fox-cyborg squealed again and again as a brought my fists down in a flurry of now dark red blows. I burned through energy as the thing's head no longer resembled a head, and I got up and moved on. "Yes," I answered as I ran to search for more minions. "Animal hybrids. And bring a battery, I don't want to have to leach too much off the school if I can," I said as I brought a hand to a plug in the wall. Nearby lights flickered as my red glow took on a brighter shade of yellow.
"On it. And, I think you're getting a call." Tinman hung up, and unprompted, Jess's voice came through. "Gwen! You answered! Where the hell are you?!" I winced slightly at her shouting, and tried to steady my breathing before answering. "Locked in a bathroom. You?" Some shambling on the microphone happened before Carla answered, and I fell to my back to avoid a long arm from knocking me out. "We're still in the classroom is what! You know, light's off, paper up, huddled in a fucking corner!?" I held out both hands and grabbed the cat looking thing and drained it's prosthetics power. It seemed to crumple in on itself as my lightning grew lighter and lighter until it reached a pale blue. As its smoking corpse fell over, I looked over its body as I answered Carla as nonchalantly as before. "Not trying to worry you, but cyborg animals are pointing guns and lasers and I'm trying not to get them to knock down the girl's restroom. I'll see you later, okay?"
"Gwendolyn Patricia, you will not hang-" I hung up before she could finish. Carla, despite her small stature, was scary when she was mad.
I let my sixth sense pulse, finally expanding my vision beyond what was in front of me. From here to upstairs, three more figures pumping out more electricity than the average human could survive were just up ahead, beyond two more corners. I grinned beneath my mask, and began charging a ball of kinetic energy in my grasp before finding them.
It took a hot minute, and Tinman was back on the line. "I've arrived. What's happening now?" I looked beyond the corner for a minute, and was suddenly glad I had charged something big. In front of what looked like a locker with more space than it should hold was a rather large cyborg bear-goat-thing. It was certainly the body of a bear, but it had a single bipedal leg, an arm that looked suspiciously like a giant laser cannon, and the head of a bleating goat with far too red eyes to be normal. Behind them were two more par-for-the-course creatures similar to what I've fought. A dog looking thing and what looked like several crows stapled together into a large bird.
"Dog-cyborg, bird-cyborg, and a bear-goat hybrid." I whispered, hoping the dog didn't hear me or the crackle of electricity in my palm. If I could see Tinman's face, I maybe would've seen his eyes popping out of his skull. "Bear-goat! Oh, of course, it's not like she's attacked a school, no! She has make an abomination attack a school! Huzzah!" My eyes widened beneath my goggles as the dog-cyborg looked at me and barked. "Dammit," I cursed, and I ran out of cover and to the other side of the hall as I threw my ball of lightning. It flew in an arc, and landed in front of the crow as it seemed to burn a hole in the floor and explode. The bear-goat's head was lodged further in the larger-on-the-inside locker, and the dog-cyborg was running towards me before it got blown forward.
I was already on the other side of the hall when the dog slammed into the locker's in front of me. Not letting get up, I shocked it with five more bolts before I drew closer and slammed a powered foot through its chest. Satisfied that it was getting up, I let myself run faster to drop kick the crow-mass as it got back up. It didn't flop over on its back, instead letting it's hundred stapled wings flap to keep itself in the air. I fought back with a few consecutive bolts when the bear-goat's mech arm met my face and fired.
I was hardly able to bring up a magnetic wall when the huge laser slammed into my gut and flung me further down the hall. While I knew it wouldn't do much against concentrated light as it did bullets, I had hoped it prevent me being shot in half. Pain met my cells soon enough after I landed, and I hardly heard shear wings cut through the air to land on my bruised and burnt stomach. Long talons suck softly into my flesh beneath the tatters of my suit, and I couldn't do anything but gasp without breath. Beyond my blurring vision, the crow-mass' chest opened up to reveal a screen. A familiar cyborg's face appeared on it.
"Conduit!?" Said a surprised Technomon. "Damn, I really was hoping for Blizzard to pull in with a sudden 'I was here all along' trick." Blizzard? Was that the absent super? "But still, hey, I'm a fan. I've seen you fight, and that thing with Aegis and Ammo? Absolutely priceless! But you've also wreck some of my stuff too..." The talons of the crow-mass suck just a little deeper, and electricity danced across my body and armor as I bit my tongue. "Hmm. Looks like my tyrant cuts deep, huh? Yeah, I had a bit of a fugue, and suddenly, I have a pet bear on my hands. Literally, it was pretty gross." Keep talking. In my pain, I was suddenly asking myself where Tinman was.
"I'm wondering right now. I've already pulled this off with Blizzard, the poor girl. Hell, since this has happened, she's probably planning to kill me right now!." Legs danced into my vision, and multiple mechanic spiders were pulled into view, resting themselves on my mask. As their legs began to dig under my mask, I let my electricity flow freely, and gripped the metallic talons of the crow-mass before I heard a compressed airshot.
I was able to hear Technomon curse loudly as the crow-mass' screen was suddenly broken, a large metal spear protruding outward. It's talons wretched out of my stomach with a wet squelch, and my vision went red with pain as I shut my eyes closed. My sixth sense pulsed as I rolled onto my stomach, and I saw a massive metal man, bigger than the bear-goat, pulsing with an enormous amount of power inside. I crawled slowly as something on a wire was pulled and slammed into the bear-goat, the metal man's armored arm moving like a conductor on cadence.
Suddenly, his head turned, and I could only imagine he saw me as he set down a thing with as much power as he has. Gingerly, I reached out with my power and let the lightning flow through my veins. Abstractly, I could feel the flesh on my stomach stitch itself together, rejecting the burnt carbon away. My pains disappeared, and my mind cleared as the lights on my suit began to glow a bright white. The energy in the battery disappeared, and I was soon standing with Tinman by my side. He was incredibly tall, but not enough that he had to duck to stand fully in the hall. He was fully armored as well, with his pointed helmet and protruding nose that had given him his namesake. Luckily for him, it wasn't simply chrome-paint, and luckily for me, I didn't have to see the worry beneath the glowing yellow eyes. "Are you alright?" He asked, his arms outstretched to catch me incase I stumble. I push his hands away, letting my lightning dance across my body as I glared at the still standing crow-mass and roaring bear-goat.
"Fully charged!" I angrily yelled, and let my fist build in white hot electricity before making a harsh punching motion. This one was made not unlike my ball of lightning. Unlike it, however, this one didn't take time to fully charge and explode. This flew like a firework, bright and blinding, and as it detonated, it fully burnt away the crow-mass feathers before a sound like thunder blew the abomination to pieces. I didn't need to look at my glowing suit to see that I was still white hot.
The bear-goat roared, and I roared back, delivering another white-hot missile of lightning directly into the hideous thing's snout. It slammed back loudly into the lockers, and the resulting thunder made it clear that it wouldn't get back up. I was still white hot, I felt, and wondered what was powering that battery when I realized I didn't care. I shot the abomination with a normal bolt of lightning. Then again. And again. I slammed bolt after bolt of lightning into it's face until it no longer resembled any animal on the face of the earth. Smoke flowed freely from its corpse and my hands, and I could hear large feet shuffling as I pulled my breathing into control.
I turned to look at Tinman, who seemed to freeze up at my gaze. I ignored his antics and instead went for whatever that physics defying locker was. Inside, it looked like a room, and with my sixth sense, I notice the gentle hum of a generator. I pulled myself away from the locker shut the door, and drained what energy was still being put out. As soon as it was dead, I opened the locker to find nothing but wires and red lights. I could hear Tinman sputtering behind me. "B-but, that was a pocket dimension! It could've held a treasure trove!"
I turned to glare at him. "I just got shot through the stomach and nearly tortured because some idiot gearhead decided to put a 'treasure trove' in a school locker. Tell me again how you will feed your addiction to tinkering." It wasn't fair to shove that vice in his face, but I was already mad enough. To make matters worse, before Tinman could apologize, because that was what he was most certainly going to do, the intercom rang out.
"Huh. Well done. Though that pocket dimension was kind of important." Technomon's voice rang out, annoyed in its tone. I turned to face the nearest security camera, which was also facing me, and aimed my finger like a gun. A thin, almost laser-straight bolt of lightning burned through the camera. "Okay, that's just being rude."
"Shut up," I said, making sure my voice didn't crack from annoyance or rage. My hands were already trembling from the battery and the stupid 'tyrant' thing. "You're either going to show up and turn yourself in, or I find you and tear off your fake tits." I wasn't shouting. I was angry, and I needed the dumbass to make a mistake.
"Excuse me?!" She sounded almost scandalized. "These girls are one hundred percent natural!"
"Yes, and so were your arms before you replaced them. Tell me, did the girls come before, or after supervillainy?" I shot another camera with a finger gun, and then motion at Tinman by tapping my wrist. He raised his thumb up. Good, he was already working on it.
"They grew on their own, Miss Shockass!" She was getting angry. What else could I insult her with? "Yes, probably in a vat. Is that why you wanted that locker? Because Blizzard has better tits than you?"
She growled over the intercom now, and returned fire. "Hey! Blizzard may be good at her work, but she's a cheapskate! I'm leagues better than her!" I was already walking down the hall, Tinman following as I shot out another camera.
"Says the bitch that needs to make her own friends. What's the matter, Barbie, Ken not working like he should?" I pointed myself towards another camera, and made a circle with my hand while letting my other flop my index finger. Judging by the dumbass' angry muttering, I was getting to her. "Shut up! Shut up, shut up, shut up!"
Suddenly, Tinman shouted. "Conduit, we've got her! Aegis and Ammo on the way!" The intercom suddenly went quiet with a low chuckle. It's times like this I wish people could see my smirk as I approach like the third coming of Doom.
"Hehe. Oh. You bitch." Technomon snarled over the intercom. It suddenly cut off. My goggles blinked for a moment, Aegis and Ammo texting that they were approaching Technomon's lair. I got myself ready into a sprint before Tinman grabbed my shoulder. "I think you should stay here."
That got my blood boiling. "What." It wasn't a question that came from my mouth. Tinman quickly let go and raised his hands in mock surrender. "Your suit is already far too damaged, and Technomon's bound to have heavier stuff on her. Unless you can keep draining everything around you, you're..."
"Yes?" He couldn't see, but I knew that he knew my teeth were bared. "Y-you're a bit a glass cannon. Let me, Aegis, and Ammo take care of it. You need to lose that charge."
Electricity flared as I clenched my fist. "No, I need to find the bitch that decided to shoot a hole in me and make her pay! Now let me find her, Tinman, before I drain you dry!"
Tinman didn't move, and instead kneeled as he put a hand on my shoulder. "Gwen," he whispered. I flinched, despite myself. "You're the best of us. You know this. But you're not yourself right now." He extended a hand and a glistening wire shot out, grabbing the battery I had fully drained and pulling it in front of me. "Recharge this. Change. Be with your friends. We've got this."
I breathed harshly for a moment, and reluctantly I put my hand on the battery and felt myself drain away. My glow slowly darkened back to a blue before settling between yellow and green in color. With that, my mood lessened and my tiredness from earlier came back in half-swing. Tinman pulled the battery away and placed against his back, away from my shaking hand. "Better?" He asked as he stood up.
"Yeah," I muttered, knowing full well he heard me. He nodded, and motion for me to go away. "Good. Now run along, girly, and be with friends."
"Yeah," I gave a thumbs up and walked all the way back to the upstairs as he left. It was a short trip, and right as I got the restroom door, I got a text in my goggles from Tinman.
"don't worry, i have extra suits for ya B)"
I chuckled despite myself, and made to walk in when, "Excuse me, are you Conduit?" I turned around. The upstairs were wondering, it seemed, and the hall was slowly filling with students. Two of which were Carla and Jess, standing right in front of me and fidgeting with reddened faces. I immediately deepened my voice with static. "Yes, I am. Can I help you two?"
They seemed to jump at my voice, and Jess seemed to gather enough courage to speak. "Um, do you know if Gemstone and Solar are together, together!?" She seemed to shout in a hurry. It was a bit of a shock to see the normally stoic Jessica blush madly like this and shuffle in place like the average fangirl, but I didn't show any of that. "Oh. Um, sorry. They're kinda in a different state, and it's not like we have a chatroom about it." I didn't actually doubt there to not be a chatroom. Supers gathered together for sometimes inane reasons.
Carla rolled her eyes and met my own. Seemingly stubborn on my own, actually. "Was Technomon actually here? Do you know what she was doing?"
I... couldn't actually answer this, could I? What to say, what to say...
"Well, miss, it seemed Technomage was going after Blizzard's own technology, which our yellow-snow colored friend foolishly left in a locker." Was I being petty? Yes. Was it incorrect? Not really.
Carla opened her mouth to speak, and I ended up cutting her off. "And no, she was not a student here."
Carla blinked, and Jess stammered something out instead. "Uh, well, no, I wasn't going to talk about that. I mean, I'm pretty sure you knew, but..."
Carla simply spat it out. "Your costume is all torn up!" Jess nodded in agreement, and by now, so were a couple of other students who have come to stare at the super in their midst.
I wasn't entirely sure why, but I looked down anyway to... Oh. "Oh." I repeated from my mind.
As it turned out, flashing bare skin, especially female bare skin, made for some to stare at the blatant sex appeal. While I hardly have any of that beyond a skintight suit, that very same suit was still torn open in the middle and reveal my abs for all to see. I had a feeling people were already taking pictures. Vibrating in place, I rushed out of there faster than most people could see, and found my bathroom with my clothes. No one was in here, and I changed as fast as my powers allowed me to without tearing my civvie clothes.
Granted, exposing such a minor part of myself to the world isn't all bad. It could be worse. I knew for a fact it could be worse.
...I need to find Blizzard.