Nanowrimo – FS Vigilance Chapter 5
Here’s a new chapter. It’s interesting to me how many mistakes I make writing at this pace. I keep reminding myself that there’s plenty of time to edit, add descriptions and even change whole scenes around. This isn’t the final version, but I like seeing how things develop.
A few moments later, Rigel carefully lowered two slightly melted battlesuits onto the street next to the Freedom Flyer as she landed back at the Diamond Exchange. She began carefully peeling off the armor.
“We were awesome,” said Solaria, beaming with pride.
“Nice job controlling the heat and just melting their weapons. Good flying too.”
Solaria gave Rigel a high-five.
Nightstar ran over and immediately the mood changed. His face was ashen. Cori had never seen Nightstar look so upset, and when she realized that he was going over to Solaria, her heart stopped. “We don’t know exactly what happened,” he said.
“Where is Kyle?” said Solaria, her voice catching.
“Ion’s got him, and he’s taking him back to Freedom Squad Headquarters. Dr. Lord is already at the med bay and Starlight says with his technology…”
Before Nightstar could finish, Solaria flew off in the direction of the team’s base.
“I should be there,” said Rigel.
“No,” said Nightstar. “You need to be right here, ready to answer questions. If you aren’t, it’s going to cause trouble. You can’t help him right now.”
“How is he?”
“No vitals at all. He was frozen solid.”
“I can use my telepathy, see if there are any thoughts. I need to be there, Nightstar. He’s part of my team.” She felt hot tears of anger run over her cheeks. “Have Protector handle the press.”
Nightstar exhaled. “That’s not such a good idea right now,” he said quietly to himself. “I guess it’s up to me.”
Rigel wasn’t sure that she had ever flown so fast. All she could think about was Snowfall. If he had been killed…
Her heart pounded. She nearly lost her focus and started falling out of the sky. She shook her head to clear it. She tried her yoga breaths, breathing in through the nose and out through the nose, but for once, they didn’t seem to do any good. This shouldn’t have happened.
She dove around the side of the skyscraper, and saw the mansion that housed Freedom Squad Headquarters, a patch of green in the midst of the city. Normally, just the sight of the base brought a smile to her face. This time, however, all she felt was a sense of dread.
She landed on the roof. The door to the mansion looked as if it had been scorched. She couldn’t blame Solaria right now. She dashed inside and made her way as quickly as she could down to the medical lab.
Ion was standing just outside the lab, holding his communicator. He put it away as he saw her. “Cori, I got him here as quickly as I could. Jake’s trying to do anything that he can, and Starlight’s helping. Kerenza…Solaria, she’s going to be in there until a final determination can be made.”
Ion’s face flushed as if the words ‘final determination’ had brought with them a realization that they might never talk to Snowfall again.
“Did Jake say anything?” said Cori softly.
She hoped that Dr. Jake Lord, the team physician, formerly known to the world as the superhero Dr. Hurricane, could find a way to save Snowfall…Kyle. She wanted to ask Ion more questions, but she realized that she didn’t even know exactly what had happened.
Ion interrupted her thoughts to answer her question. “He’s still examining him, but there’s no vitals and his body has well, crystallized. I’m still cold from holding him. It felt like he was frozen solid. His eyes were wide open, just staring.”
Somehow seeing Ion look shaken helped Cori find some strength of her own. She put her hand on his shoulder. “Did you see any wounds?”
“The ice around the side of his neck was scarlet, but nothing beyond that. The way he was lying it looked like he had convulsed or something.”
“Okay. I’m going to go in and see what I can do.”
Ion nodded. “I’ll head back inside in a second. I was going to call you or Nightstar, but you obviously know. How’s Protector?”
“Protector?” asked Cori, raising her brow beneath her mask. “I didn’t know that Alex was hurt too. He’s not…”
“No, but he had left Snowfall alone in that alley with a woman. It looked to me like he was already blaming himself.”
“We’ll deal with that once we know Kyle’s condition, whatever it may be. Contact Nightstar, make sure everything’s okay, and if Starlight’s here, and you feel up to it, check the monitor room.”
“For once, monitor duty sounds like a good thing,” said Ion. “Contact me once we know something.”
“I will,” she promised. A strange sense of resolve filled Cori as she stepped inside the medical lab. Solaria was leaning over what looked like the ice sculpture of a man on a table, while Dr. Lord rubbed his chin with one hand and held a stethoscope in the other. Starlight stood on the opposite side of the table from Solaria next to a set of computer monitors. One of the monitors displayed a set of vitals, but it was showing no readings.
Cori nearly felt her own heart stop. Stay calm. If the unthinkable has happened, you’ll just have to deal with it. Dad told you that heroes can die.
She remembered that day so long ago that she had found her father crying. They had been living in Sydney, Australia, even though her dad was a superhero in San Francisco. Years later she would learn that the distance was for her protection. He had come home, which was always a happy occasion. She had given him a hug, and he had picked her up and squeezed her tightly, as he always did, but he had held her longer than usual. After he put her down, he quietly went into his bedroom.
There had been no promises about fun things they would do or even a suggestion on where he was going to take her to dinner. Something had been wrong, so she softly knocked on his door.
That’s when she heard her father, Orion, one of the world’s greatest superheroes, crying. It had scared her, so she opened the door and ran inside and threw her arms around him and started crying too. She had no idea why, but they wept together.
Shadowhawk, one of her dad’s teammates, had been killed. The team had caught the murderer, a villain named the Hyena, but nothing they did could bring back their friend.
Superheroes shouldn’t die.
And if someone had killed Snowfall, they were going to find out exactly how powerful Rigel could be.
“Jake, how is he?” she asked.
Jake smiled and ran a hand through his gray-streaked brown hair. “Brilliant. He’s utterly brilliant.”
Starlight spoke up, his voice resonating from behind his featureless white faceplate. “According to our analysis, Snowfall was injected with a toxin. He seems to have acted quickly and dropped his metabolism rate to such a point that he put himself into a state of suspended animation.”
Jake nodded. “He’s alive. He knew that he was poisoned and basically, froze himself to stop the poison from spreading. He has vitals but they are so slow as to be nearly undetectable. Assuming we can neutralize or remove the toxin and warm him up, I think he’ll be fine.”
“He’s alive,” Cori whispered.
Solaria raised her head. Tear streaks were visible on her cheeks. “I can control my flame enough to warm him back up. We just need to figure out how to get the poison out. Is it just some iced over green liquid frozen in his arteries? And yes, I know it’s more complicated than that, I’m just hoping.”
“It should be possible to locate the concentrations of toxic molecules and perform micro-laser surgery to remove them,” stated Starlight.
“I was going to go with the more primitive Terran technology approach of removing the frozen blood from the area of his neck around the injection site, then repairing the wound before thawing him,” said Jake.
“You are correct, Dr. Lord. Your approach would not violate any human directives about not interfering with the development of civilized species. Ion has shown me humanity’s vision of the Federation and the many incarnations of the starship Enterprise on the television,” responded Starlight.
“Whatever you need to do to save him, do it.” Solaria stood straight. “Save Kyle.”
“I will,” promised Jake.
“I can find out who did this,” said Cori, stepping over to Kyle’s body. “Kerenza, we talked about when I might use my telepathy to read minds. If it’s okay with you, I’d like to do it right now.”
Solaria stood straight. “Cori, you better believe that I want you to do whatever it takes to find who did this. All I ask is that when we find him, make sure the burn unit is ready at the hospital.” Flame flickered over Solaria’s fingertips, but Cori noted that she held her hand away from Snowfall’s body.
Rigel did her yoga breathing, and this time, she felt relaxed. She gently reached her mind out to touch Kyle’s.
Kyle, it’s Cori…Rigel. I need to know what happened to you and who did this. I’m going to search your mind. If you can, let me know that it’s okay. If you don’t want me to see something, just think of it being hidden. I’m not going to press. Try to show me who did this and what happened.
Rigel didn’t feel any response at first.
“What’s going on?” asked Solaria.
“I’m assuming his brain is moving slowly like the rest of his body. I’ve never been in telepathic contact with someone frozen.”
“Tell him that I love him, and that I’m going to get whoever did this.”
We’re going to save you.
…Protector. She wanted him. He’s…the target.
Kyle, I need to see everything. And Solaria wants you to know that she loves you and that she’s going to get whoever did this.
Images floated to the surface of Snowfall’s mind. Usually, Cori could see videos, but these seemed more like snapshots. She saw the woman, felt the syringe and heard her voice.
I’m breaking contact now. You are going to be okay. You froze the poison. Kerenza loves you.
Seconds ticked by as she waited for a response.
Kyle, I promise you that we will find the people responsible, and we will definitely stop them.