[Violence and foul language. Reader discretion advised.]
Nasty stood over two unconscious guards as she finished fastening the belt she took from one of them. Alarm klaxons shrilled harshly, echoing through the corridor. Nasty covered her ears, trying to block the noise so that she could think. There had to be a way out.
Kneeling down, Nasty went through the guards' pockets. She found their wallets and several sets of keys. Standing back up, she started running down the corridor. As she ran, the alarms cut out. Over the PA system, a voice announced, "All personal, stand by for procedure Epsilon-Nine. Repeat, stand by for Epsilon-Nine." All around her, Nasty heard doors slide shut.
"Shit," Nasty said. She reached a door, covered by a steel barrier. Letting explosive energy build up in her hand, she slammed her fist into the barrier. "Son of a bitch!" Nasty shook out her hand, flexing her fingers. The barrier had a deep, fist-sized dent where Nasty hit it. Out of frustration, she slammed her palm against the barrier.
"You want a piece of me?" Nasty yelled. "C'mon! Show yourselves! Where are you?!"
"There's no need for violence. Calm down and we can talk."
'I'll show you calm.' Nasty smacked the barrier again. Think, Natasha! You can't just punch the damned wall. You'll break your hand again. You got out of that coffin. How did you do it? She powered up her hand. Right. I didn't have to hit it. Just touch it. She placed her hand on the barrier. A coughing fit struck. Great. They must be pumping gas in. Cowards. Okay, why isn't my power going off? Do I have to press? Nasty pressed against the barrier. Purple energy exploded into the barrier. Nasty saw light coming through a new crack. She smiled ferally.
"Miss Giuliano. Please calm down. There's no need to destroy the building."
"So why was I trapped naked in a tube? What sort of sicko are you?" Nasty let energy flow into her hand.
"We can explain, Miss Giuliano. You just have to calm down."
"I am calm." Nasty pressed her hand against the barrier. The crack exploded wider, becoming a hole. Klaxons blared anew. Gas me, will you? Nasty coughed again. Just stay standing.
"Miss Giuliano . . . Natasha, please. If you'll just give me a chance to explain."
"Yeah, right. Show yourself first."
There was a long pause before the voice answered, "I'll meet you on the other side of the wall you're breaking."
The barrier slid to the side, revealing the door. Nasty opened the door, not noticing the gaping hole she created in it. She looked around the featureless room. Not going to let me go easily, huh? Fine. I can be just as stubborn and just as destructive as they want.
A door opened, letting Jackson walk into the room. Nasty dashed towards the door, but couldn't reach it before it closed. Jackson watched the young woman pace around him. "Natasha, calm down. I can get you out of here."
"No fucking shit you're getting me out of here. What the fuck is going on?"
"Nothing's going to happen if you calm down, Natasha."
"Calm down? You want me to fucking calm down? I woke up in a fucking coffin with no fucking clothes!"
"I can explain."
"Explain? How the fuck do you explain waking up in a fucking coffin?"
"It was for your own safety."
Nasty quickly charged at Jackson. She grabbed him and energized her hand. "You get me the fuck out of her or I'll splatter your brain all over this fucking room!"
A new voice blared from the intercom, "No, Miss Giuliano."
"You've seen what I've done to the test dummies. You want a live test?"
"Open the door," Jackson said. "Authorization code Beta-One-Five-Five."
The door slid open, revealing a corridor. Nasty dragged Jackson with her as she left the room. "You first," she growled. She manhandled her hostage through the door, waiting for something to happen to him. Satisfied it was safe, she continued down the corridor, pushing Jackson in front of her.
"Natasha, listen to me."
"No way. Between you, Chris, and Mickey, I'm not trusting any of you. I left Mickey at that fucking coffin. I don't want to hear a fucking thing you have to say. Got me? Just shut up."
A door blocked the end of the corridor. Nasty swore, then pushed Jackson into it. "Open it."
"Open the fucking door!"
Jackson taped a code into a keypad beside the door. The lock clicked. Nasty pushed the door open, then waited. "Okay, you're next. Move it."
"Listen to me, Natasha. This isn't the way."
"You listen to me. I am getting the fuck out of here. I don't give a shit about what's going on, just that no one's going to do it to me. Got that? Now get moving!" Nasty shoved Jackson through the door, keeping a hold on his shoulder. She looked past him, trying to spot an ambush. Out of the corner of her eye, she detected movement. As she turned her head to look, she felt Jackson being torn from her grasp. At the same time, someone charged at her from her right. Nasty swung viciously, hitting her assailant on the shoulder. Energy burst from her fist, sending her attacker into spinning into the wall.
"Natasha, stop," Jackson ordered.
Nasty turned around, her fist still raised. She saw Jackson standing behind one of the agents who had visited her at school. The agent pointed his hand at her. Instinctively, Nasty raised an arm to defend herself. Thin silvery lines launched from the agents hands at Nasty and wrapped around her arm. She pulled her arm back, but the silver strands held fast.
"That's far enough," the agent said.
"Like hell!" Nasty wrapped her arm around the strands. She pulled. The agent lurched forward, not ready for the move. Nasty pulled again, bringing the agent next to her. With her free hand, she hit him solidly in the face. He dropped to his knees. Nasty punched him several more times, leaving his face a bloodied mess. She looked up. Jackson was nowhere to be seen. "Coward," Nasty muttered. She kicked the agent at her feet for good measure. The sliver strands slid off her arm. A groan behind her startled Nasty. She turned around and saw the woman she hit earlier trying to stand up. The other agent. Figures. "Get up!"
"My shoulder," the woman groaned. "You bitch, you broke my shoulder."
"Get up!" Nasty roared. "Or I'll break something else!" The woman staggered to her feet. She clutched her arm to her side. Nasty ran in and grabbed her by the throat. "You're going to get me out of here, got that? Try anything funny andI'll take your fucking head off. Got me?" The agent nodded. "Which way?"
"No trap down there, right?" Nasty gave the woman a shake. "Right?"
"No trap. That way's the parking lot."
"Good." Nasty manhandled the woman, following her directions. Passing the other agent, Nasty kicked him in the stomach. She ignored the shock on her hostage's face. "Keep moving."
The agent led Nasty through the complex, past numerous doors and corridors. Nasty kept an eye out for another ambush, and was relieved once they arrived at the parking lot. She looked around at the number of vehicles parked, but didn't see her motorcycle. The asphalt felt cold under her bare feet and the wind whipped through the thin shirt she wore.
"Where's your car?" she snarled.
"My shoulder," the woman said.
"Your car!" Nasty said.
"Over . . . over there. The green one."
Great. All the people to grab and I get a soccer mom. "Give me your keys." The woman pulled a set of keys out of her pocket and gave them to Nasty. "What size shoe do you wear?"
"What size of fucking shoe do you wear?"
"Give me them."
"Give me your fucking shoes."
"I'm fucking pissed. Give me your shoes now!"
The woman kicked her shoes off, leaving her standing in her stockings. "You can't escape," she said.
"Watch me." Nasty kicked the shoes away from the agent. She let go of the woman and stepped back. She'll follow. She's stupid enough to do that. Without warning, Nasty hit the woman with a right cross. The agent dropped to the ground. Good. Damnit, that hurt! Shaking her hand out, Nasty stepped into the shoes. Heels. Great. What sort of cop wears heels? How the hell am I going to walk in these? With effort and some hobbling, she made her way to the green mini-van.
The door was unlocked, and Nasty quickly got into the van. She started the engine and drove out of the lot. After half an hour, she returned to the speed limit, turning on to a side road. Now what do I do? I can't go home. They'll find me there. Mom'll probably call them if I show up. Think, Natasha. Where can you go? If they're feds, then they'll track you anywhere. Maybe I can lose them in Canada. Christ, I don't even know where I am. She felt a tear form in her eye. Hold it together. Cry later, when you have time. No time for weakness now, damnit. She turned off the side road and on to a two lane highway. I gotta figure out where I'm going. Nasty saw a road sign with directional arrows down the road. She slowed down enough to read it. Rochester. Good enough.
Damage Report - Escape of Subject 13
Subject 4: Concussion. Contusion on forehead requiring eleven
Subject 6: Concussion. Broken nose, jaw. Hairline fracture of skull.
Subject 11: Broken right shoulder. Dislocated jaw. Shock.
Materiel damage of approximately $375 000.
Reacquire Subject 13 immediately. The longer she remains away from the Organization, the more likely it is that she'll compromise operations. However, if she gives too much resistance, she is to be eliminated.
[End Issue 15]
Next Issue: A new chapter starts in Nasty's life.