15 Mar 2013
Subject 13 #11 - Insight
Nasty looked back to check on her motorcycle. The Kawasaki swayed, but the ropes tying it down kept the motorcycle upright. Satisfied about her bike's safety, she turned her attention to the driver of the pickup she was in. Jackson, the driver, watched the road and the traffic. Kinda attractive, I guess, Nasty thought. Longer hair would suit him better. She closed her eyes. What the hell am I thinking?
"You've been quiet," Jackson said. "Anything wrong?"
"The day's been strange, that's all."
"Things just don't seem right, for some reason," Nasty said. "I can't remember yesterday at all."
"The doc said you'll get your memory back. The bump wasn't that serious."
"How the hell do you know about that?"
"I was there when it happened. A freak accident, that's all."
"A freak accident."
"Just try to remember what you can about yesterday, Natasha," Jackson said.
"Even if you think it's silly."
"Okay." Let's see. What do I remember? "Well, I remember two agents meeting me at school yesterday to make me sign a form. I remember helping a kid, and being in the principal's office a couple of times. I remember seeing . . . seeing this guy." Okay, why am I not mentioning Eric's name? "I had a weird dream, too. At least, I think it was a dream. I was in a sedan after being drugged and tied up."
"Sounds like fun."
"Hardly," Nasty said coldly. That is an odd dream. I don't have that type of dream.
"Remember anything else?"
"No. Not now."
"It'll come back," Jackson said. "Give it time."
"So why did you pick me up?"
"First day of training is always easier with someone who's gone through it before. All the brass wants is to find out what you're capable of. Shouldn't take too long."
"You've been through this?"
"All metahuman agents have been."
"You're an altie?" What sort of freak squad am I with?
"I'm an altie, just like you. Not everyone on the squad you'll be on likes the term, though."
Nasty rolled her eyes. "So I'm supposed to watch their little feelings?"
"You've got spunk." Jackson smiled.
Spunk? Sheesh. "Just watch the road, Jackson. Is it much further?"
"Not long. The facility is just out of town. Gives us space in case of problems."
"Problems? What sort of problems?"
Maria returned home from work. Tired, she fell on to the couch. She kicked off her shoes and wiggled her toes. That feels better. God, I was on my feet all day. I could use a drink. "Nata--" Maria cut off her shout. Right. She doesn't live here anymore. Gotta remember that. Means I have to get my own beer now, though.
Maria stretched, then stood up. If I have to get up, then I can go somewhere else for the beer. Maybe bring home someone for a change. Natasha's not here to put a damper on events. She trotted into her room, where she dug into her closet to find a red dress. Perfect.
"This is the training area?" Nasty asked.
"I know it doesn't look like much, but it serves our purpose," Jackson said. He led Nasty to a weather-beaten corrugated metal building.
"So what am I doing here?" Nasty asked. /I'm sounding like a broken record./
"Just preliminary work, see what you can do. Nothing difficult."
"And that shed can do that?"
"Never judge a building by its facade." Jackson held the door open for Nasty.
Great. Completely dark. "How about a light in here, or does this dump have electricity."
Jackson flipped a switch. Lights blazed, forcing Nasty to shade her eyes. Sorry I asked. Looking around, Nasty saw that the building was empty, with only one other door besides the exit. This is supposed to test me? I'm supposed to destroy the building with my bare hands?
"You look dubious, Natasha," Jackson said. "Everything will be explained in that room. Just go on in."
Nasty opened the door and stepped into the room. Jackson followed behind her, closing the door. The room's metal walls gleamed in the florescent light. As Nasty slowly turned around to see the entire room, Jackson opened a panel near the door. "Hold on," he said.
The door slid shut and the room lurched. Nasty staggered, feeling herself starting to black out. "Damn," she cursed. Jackson ran to her side to steady her.
"Sorry about that. I should have warned you," he said. "We're in a high speed elevator. You'll get used to it in time."
With an effort, Nasty remained on her feet. "Gee, thanks."
"Can you stand?"
"Yeah, I can stand."
Within minutes, the door slid open to reveal a long white corridor. Nasty passed several unmarked doors in the hall before Jackson ushered her into a new room. Inside, she saw several computers wired to weight machines and devices Nasty couldn't even guess their purposes. Two men in a lab coats greeted Jackson.
Nasty looked over one of the strange devices. I hate to be the guy who has to fix this when I'm done with it. "So, what do I do?"
"Natasha, this is Christopher and Mikail," Jackson said. "They'll show you what needs to be done."
Nasty looked over the two men. Blondie, I don't know. The other guy, I swear I've seen him before. "Okay, let's get started. What first?"
"Well, first is to figure out what exactly you can do," the blonde man said. "What do you know about your abilities."
"Not much." How much do I tell them? "All I know is that I broke a table with my fist. There was a purple glow, then bang! Coffee table's ruined and Mom's still chewing me out."
"Do you know how the, um, purple glow happened. Did you power your fist up? Did you do anything special to get the glow?"
"It was just there," Nasty said. "I didn't do anything on purpose to get power."
"Do you remember what you were doing before breaking the table?"
"Fighting with Mom. Nothing unusual. I've never broken anything before, no matter how much I wanted to."
"What about the fight with the football players? Did you use your power then, too?"
"Are you sure, Natasha?"
"Yes. Maybe. I don't know." Oh, that's telling them. Nasty sighed. "I didn't notice, but it was four on one. I was fighting and trying to keep myself from getting hurt. I really didn't have time to wonder about what I was doing, y'know?"
"Mike, set up the dummy for Natasha," the blonde man said. "Natasha, once Mike is done, I want you to try to activate your power and hit the dummy with it."
Nasty watched Mikail wire a man-sized padded mannequin. He still looks familiar. "Mikail, that's Russian, isn't it?" she asked.
Mikail glared at Nasty. "As is Natasha," he said with a faint trace of an accent.
The blonde man, Christopher, led Nasty aside. "Mike's a little touchy about that," he said. "Just worry about getting that power of yours working. Did anything unusual happen with the fight with the football players?"
Other than four of them ganging up on me? "I told you, I was in the middle of a fight. I do what I can to win fights." C'mon, Natasha, you know better than that. Think, girl. "Okay, the first guy I hit I sent flying. I've never hit anyone that hard before. Normally, they just drop."
"Good, good," Christopher said. "Did the guy you hit do anything first?"
"There was yelling. No one touched me."
"Okay." Christopher looked over at Mikail, who nodded. "Mike's done. We're going to watch you from another room. It's not that we don't trust you, but you are a rookie. We don't know what will happen."
Another door slid open. Jackson and Mikail walked through the opening. Christopher joined them, leaving Nasty in the middle of the room. The door slid shut with a heavy clang. Nasty walked up to the mannequin and looked it over.
"Natasha, it's Jackson," came Jackson's voice from an intercom. "Just relax, okay? Don't get fancy."
Right. Like I know how. Okay, Natasha, let's see if you can get your hand to flare on purpose. She held her hand up in front of her face. Just don't blow up on me. Concentrating, she focused on her hand. C'mon, turn on. She felt a slight tingle in her fingers. That's it, that's it. A faint purple flow formed around Nasty's hand. Yes! She looked at the mannequin, marking a target on it with her eyes. She cocked back her fist. Glancing, she saw that her fist now glowed with a bright, steady purple light. Nasty took several deep breaths to steady herself, then let loose with a punch. Purple energy exploded when her hand hit the mannequin, forcing Nasty to blink. After her eyes cleared, Nasty checked the mannequin. It had a large black burn where she hit it.
"Shit," Nasty said, shocked. I used that on those jocks? I could have killed them. She stared at her hand. What have I turned into?
Name: Karen Barnard (nee Walsh)
Birthdate: September 17, 1961
Birthplace: Greensboro, North Carolina
Hair: Black, starting to grey
0.5 cm scar along knee
Mother: Louise Walsh (nee Sutter)
Father: Robert Walsh
Subject's bloodstream has a paralytic agent that affects most humans. Agent does not affect Subject 11. Agent can be passed through touch, though is blocked by clothing. Paralysis lasts from one to four hours, depending on size of dose and size of recipient.
Subject 11 has two children - Kevin (born 1986) and Kayla (born 1992) (see file:\\FS16735-1\Subjects\11\family.doc). Subject 11 has expressed concern about her children and a desire to see them. Recommend that Subject 11 be allowed to her family on a regular basis to maintain her loyalty. Recommend also that her children be watched and possibly procured for experimentation.
[End Issue 11]
Next issue: Nasty's training continues, and Maria adjusts to living alone.