18 Jan 2013
Subject 13 #3 - Crushed
The last bell of the day rang. Nasty packed up her books as she watched her classmates rush out the door. She let out a sigh as she stood up.
"Problem, Natasha?" her teacher asked.
"No, Mr. Lau," Nasty said.
"Are you sure?"
"Yes," Nasty answered, trying to keep her annoyance out of her tone.
"Then I'll see you tomorrow?" Mr. Lau asked.
Nasty forced a smile. "Yes." She picked up her bag and left the classroom. Returning to her locker, she tossed her bag to the locker. Nasty slumped against the wall beside her locker. Can't anyone just shut up about those jerks? It's just a lousy football game. Christ, it's not life or death. Idiots. Seeing her classmate Eric walking down the hall, heading her way, she stood up straight. Without realizing what she was doing, she straightened her shirt and pants. "Hi, Eric," she said.
"Hey, Tasha," Eric said. "How did you do with the essay? It was due back today, right?"
"It was. I did get it, yes." Quit babbling, Natasha, she told herself. "Here, let me get it out." She rummaged through her locker, and pulled out the creased and crumpled essay. Smoothing it out the best she could, she then handed the paper to Eric. She watched uneasily as Eric read her mark.
"Way to go, Tasha! See? I told you, you could do it."
"It's only a B," Nasty said, feeling her cheeks grow hot. Great. I look like an idiot. I feel like one, too.
"Only? Tasha, that's a huge improvement since we started studying together."
"I wanted to do better." Now I'm whining. Shut up shut up, shut up!
"You are doing better. Want to meet later this week to go over the essay?" Eric said.
Keep cool. "Sure," Nasty said. Not that cool, you idiot! "When?" Not that eager, stupid!
"How's tomorrow evening? You working then?"
"A couple of hours. I should be finished by after supper. The library?"
"I don't think it'll be open," Eric said. "My place may be easier. Is that a problem?"
"Nope." A sense of relief washed over Nasty. Away from Mom. Good. "What time?"
"After seven is good. Give me a call if there's any problem. Still have my number?"
"I do. And Eric . . . ?" Tell him.
Tell him! "Thanks. For everything." Chicken.
"No problem," Eric said. "I got to get going. My folks are waiting for me. See you tomorrow, Tasha."
"Bye." Nasty stared as Eric dashed down the hall and around the corner. She slumped back against the wall. You blew it, she chided herself. He doesn't notice. Sighing, she grabbed her saddlebags from out of the locker and closed the door. She walked slowly down the hall to the side entrance.
Walking outside, she took a deep breath. The familiar smells of the city assaulted her. She heard the football team practicing with the school's cheerleaders encouraging them on. Nasty snorted. What a waste. She walked to her motorcycle. Setting the saddlebags on the back of the Kawasaki, she looked over the motorcycle. Still no damage she could see. She mounted the bike and leaned forward in the seat.
Stupid, stupid stupid! You should have told him. You just let him slip away. Nasty let her head drop. And what the hell am I supposed to tell him? I'll just scare him off. And if I don't, Mom will. She sat up, then started the bike's engine. Better let Mom know about the teacher-thing tonight. Maybe she'll be too tired to go.
Nasty navigated the motorcycle out of the parking lot and into traffic. She kept her speed down. The last thing she wanted was a ticket, not now. She pulled up in front of her apartment building and killed the engine. Dismounting, she walked into the building and went straight to her home.
Her mother's empty tequila bottle still sat on the broken coffee table, and her glass now lay on the floor. Nasty sighed, and cleaned up the mess. She left the dirty glass in the sink, then went to her room. Her bed, still unmade, beckoned her. Nasty flopped on to her bed and stared at the ceiling. She closed her eyes, trying to relieve the tenseness she felt.
Nasty wasn't sure how long it took her to notice the growing commotion coming from outside. She groaned, not wanting to get out of bed, but the noise was too loud for her to ignore. Getting out of bed, she walked to her window. The noise was definitely coming from the street. Nasty looked down and saw several police cruisers and news vans parked in front of the building. "What the fuck?" She stormed out of her room and to her front door. Stopping only to get a jacket, she left her apartment and ran downstairs. Outside, she saw reporters milling about, setting up cameras. "Hey! Watch the bike!" Nasty yelled at one cameraman. She ran over to her motorcycle. "What the hell do you think you're doing?"
"Excuse me?" a woman said, walking up to Nasty. "Carolyn Moore, News 14. Do you live here?"
"What? Yes," Nasty said. "What the hell's going on?"
"Do you mind if I ask you some questions?"
"Manny, get the camera over here!" Moore pulled a compact out of her pocket and checked her make up. "I'm sorry, I didn't get your name."
"Natasha Giuliano. What the fuck going on?"
"Oh, could you try not to swear too much during the interview? Makes it much easier when we go to editing."
"What fu--" Nasty choked off the obscenity. "What interview?"
Moore looked at Nasty's shirt. "You go to Seward High, right? You didn't hear that one of your schoolmates - a football player - was hospitalized by an altie last night?"
Shit! Nasty thought. What the fuck did those jerks say about last night. "An altie? Here?"
"I just want to get your impression of what happened. Did you see anything last night?"
"Um, no." I should have killed them.
"Where do you want me to set up?" Manny asked, hefting his camera to his shoulder.
"Get the entrance," Moore said. "Natasha, right?" Nasty nodded. "Natasha, could you move a bit to your left. Good, perfect."
Nasty looked over her shoulder. She couldn't see a difference between where she stood. "I was out most of last night."
"Popular girl," the reporter commented.
Oh, shut up. "I was watching the sunset. Alone." Like it's any of her business.
"Okay, let's get this done. Manny, start rolling." As the camera's spotlight came on, Moore brushed her blonde bangs out of her face. "Three . . . two . . . one . . . This is Carolyn Moore on the site of last night's latest metahuman attack against defenseless normals, this time four football players from W.H. Seward High School."
"De--" Defenseless?' Nasty stopped herself from blurting out. Defenseless my ass.
"Three of the students were taken to hospital. Two were released with minor injuries, but the third, Thomas Bergsen, is listed in serious condition." Moore paused, then said, "Cut." The spotlight died. "Okay, Manny, get Natasha here in a shot for her interview."
"Look, I don't think I'll be any use to you," Nasty said.
"You're just nervous. Happens to everyone in front of a camera. Just take a couple of deep breaths and you'll be okay. It's not like I'm asking about you sex life or anything. Just a few routine questions, that's all."
Nasty sighed in resignation. "Okay, let's get it over with," she said.
"Sir, you may wish to see this." A copy of the New York Post fell on the table. It's headline read "Schoolboys attacked by Villain".
"What does this have to do with the Consortium?"
"Timing, sir. The attack occurred about an hour after the accident involving our truck. The neighbourhood is within an hour's drive from the accident."
"You think the incident is related?"
"I feel that this should be followed up on, yes. It's a slim possibility."
"Any other news?"
"A witness saw a motorcycle leave the scene. He thinks the rider was a woman, but he couldn't describe her or the motorcycle."
"Follow up on the 'villain'. Find out if the story is real."
Name: Kevin Armstrong
Birthdate: June 12, 1958
Birthplace: Buffalo, New York
Mother: Joy Armstrong, nee Smith
Father: David Armstrong
Subject 3 can become insubstantial at will, remaining in that state for up to 45 minutes at a time. In the insubstantial state, Subject 3 can pass through most walls and barricades, and is immune to gunfire. Experimentation showed that electromagnetic radiation in the VHF band directed through Subject 3 can harm him. The power level of the EM radiation must be higher than the normal power output of television stations in that bandwidth.
Subject 3 was on the same mission with Subject 1 when the latter died. Subject 3 has shown desires of vengeance against American Eagle and should be watched.
[End Issue 3]
Next Issue: Parent-teacher interviews.