Caitlin Grey (foenix) wrote,
Caitlin Grey

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Unconventional Warfare: Chapter Three, Part Two

I just had a random thought.  Since my convention in the story is a thinly veiled Dragon*Con, I'm tempted to have the Mythbusters build team still be there, and team up with Grant briefly, who proves useless when he has no materials to build robots from. ;)  But that would be mean.

Hilarious, but mean.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
31,883 / 50,000

I dunno what happened.  I thought I'd reach the point I wanted before 31k, it didn't, and I kept going for it.  Next thing I know, almost 900 extra words...

        The woman who found herself empowered with gifts far beyond those of mere mortals looked down at me, and there seemed to be a hint of recognition at the name, and I could see it in her eyes.  That was Meggan in there, somewhere.  Ms. Marvel shook it off, however, and continued flying upwards and away from the fray.
        As much as I didn't want to, I looked back down.  From that height, I couldn't see much, but Cyclops let out several more shots towards us with his optic blasts, and they punched holes in the ceiling above.
        My transformed friend pulled me out of the way and set us down on one of the balconies.  We were almost three quarters of the way from the roof, and I watched as the chunks of masonry fell past and crashed into the ground below.  More screams echoed up at us, and I could see others scattering from the debris.
        Meggan, or Ms. Marvel, Carol, whomever she was now, started to move back towards the railing, ready to leap over it, and I grabbed at her sash before she got more than an inch of the ground.  She didn't even notice the added weight, the pull on her waist at first, as it was me who was pulled forward, instead of me pulling her away from the edge as I had hoped.  She was taking to these new powers like they were natural to her, and her flight abilities counteracted any attempts I made to stop her.
        I let out a yelp and planted a foot against the half wall of the balcony, giving another yank on the crimson material in my hand, trying to get her attention before she dove into whatever was happening now in the lobby and dragged me with her.
        All of that finally got her attention and she stopped, hovering there in midair, high above the ground.  She looked at me through the holes in the blue mask affixed to her face, and placed her fists on her hips, staring and posing as if she was just standing on any other piece of land.  Nothing was beneath her feet, not for quite a fall, at least.
        "What is it," she asked.  Even her voice was different than the one I remembered.  I'd only spoken to her directly a few times, most of our communication occuring over the internet, but the voice speaking to me now was different.  It was harder, more certain, and more authoritative than her usual quiet tone I was used to.
        I kept my grip firm on the sash, wrapped twice around my arm, and entwined with my camera's strap, dangling from my elbow.  I could see my muscles tensing and straining, and realised I could loosen my grip a little as she had stopped trying to fly away.  I took one hand away, but the other held onto it, looser than before.
        Having gotten her to stop, I didn't know what else to say.  My brain was still processing everything that had happened in what had felt like several hours, but in reality had only been a few minutes, fifteen at the most.
        "Ok, are you, or are you not Meggan?  Do you remember her?  Do you remember me?"
        The floating blonde woman, who used to be a brunette, stared at me, confusion flickering across her face.  She actually lowered a little as her eyes searched me over for recognition.  I felt the sash tense up as she dropped again, before floating back up, and came back over the divider and landed next to me.
        "  Yes.  I am...I don't know?"
        She looked me over again, her eyes darting back and forth, and I could see the confusion on her face.
        "Martin?"  It took awhile, but something broke through, and she looked at me, and again I could see the familiar friend in those blue eyes.  Part of me, deep in the back of my mind wondered if they'd always been blue, but I couldn't be sure either way.
        "Yes!  Yes, it's me.  Do you know what happened down there?  Was that really a zombie?  A zombie freaking Cyclops??  Did you really just fly?  Did you...what...I..."  My brain siezed as too many questions tried to come out all at once.
        She grabbed her head, rubbing her temples with her gloved hands, pushing back her new blonde hair, and I could see it was indeed her hair, and no longer a wig, only raising more questions.  She turned away from me, trying to focus, forgetting about the sash that was being wrapped around her as she did so.
        "Stop, stop, be quiet.  It's hard to focus.  I'm Meggan, no, Ms. Marvel.  It's all so jumbled."  She snapped back towards me and grabbed my shoulders.  The heels in her blue boots made her just as tall as me, and the fear in her eyes stirred the emotion up inside myself.  I had been too busy running on instinct and trying to survive to even give in to fear yet, but seeing one of my few friends in such a state brought it all back to me.
        "Martin, I don't know what happened, do you?  I was getting my picture taken, and then the next thing I know, I was flying!  And there were zombies.  And I saw some vampires from Buffy, and they started attacking people, and other superheroes.  Then I saw you, being attacked, and this voice in my head said I had to help them, I still hear it.  I acted instiviely, and grabbed you, pulling you away from the zombies."
        "Thanks for that, seriously.  It's a good thing you didn't get up to have your own zombie makeup done," I said, things starting to fall together, as amazing as they were sounding inside my head.
        She looked at me, not understanding.  I could see behind her eyes that she was still trying to fight this other self inside her, the persona of the costume she was wearing.  If she was like this, I could only imagine what it was like for the zombies, or the others.
        "I know this makes precisely zero sense, Meg, but I can't think of anything else that would make sense.  Like Sherlock Holmes says..."
        She covered my mouth with her hand, and her newfound strength clamped tight, muffling my words.  "I swear, if you quote that damned line about eliminating all possibilities, leaving only the impossible, I will throw you over this ledge.  I am so sick of hearing that quote in every tv show and movie."
        I stopped talking and nodded, after a few seconds she released my face, and I rubbed my jaw.  She would have to watch it with her super strength in the future.
        "As I was saying, while this sounds unbelievable, here me out, Meggan."
        "Who?"  She had lost the fight, and the other persona was there now, the one that didn't know me from any other civilian in the middle of a superhero battle.  Her eyes fluttered a few times, and I could see a change in them occur again.  "Sorry, Martin.  It's so hard to stay focused.  What were you saying?"
        I took her hands in mine and squeezed them, feeling the soft, slippery fabric of her gloves, not unlike the slipperiness of her own mind right then.  I hoped trying to keep her focused on me would give her some sort of anchor, anything to keep her in the moment.
        "You were dressed up as Ms. Marvel earlier."  She nodded as I spoke.  Her memory wasn't affected, at least as long as she was in control.  "Whatever caused that flash of light, it seems to have affected everyone that was in the lobby.  Whatever they were wearing, became their reality.  You became Ms. Marvel.  The Marvel Zombies are shambling around down there searching for food, and probably unable to fight that instinct with as much ease as you're holding Carol Danvers at bay inside your mind.  You saw the others.  Others that were flying around.  Cyclops' optic blasts."
        I doubted she needed a focus to keep herself here now, her mind was in shock from what I was telling her, and I had her full attention.  Even the Carol Danvers part of her was likely listening to my every word.
        "You're right, it does sound crazy," she said.  Even her voice had changed, sounding exactly like the Meggan I remembered, although the pitch remained off.  Like her body wasn't changing back to its old self, her voice was changed for good now, or however long this would last.
        "But is makes sense."  Even I couldn't believe the words coming out of my mouth, but for lack of any other explanation, I was running with it.  "Meggan, look.  I got some photos of what was happening, and maybe there's clues in there as to what was behind it all, and maybe an idea of just how to stop this."
        Her hands released mine, and she grabbed at the camera still dangling from my arm, and turned it on, looking at the last dozen pictures or so that I took.  I moved around her and looked over her shoulder, curious to see just what was there myself.
        The small LCD screen on the back didn't offer either of us any significant clues, though.  The details were too minute, and too indistinct, if there were any, on such a small image to be of any good.  I figured that would be the case, but Meggan had gone and grabbed the camera before I could stop her.
        I took the camera back, and unwound her sash from my arm, rubbing it a little from being constrained during our talk.  I took a quick look through a few photos again, to see if anything caught my own eyes, even on the two inch screen, just to see if I could get any heads up.  Aside from a point of light that would look like a flash in any other photo growing from one image to the next until I had a single image that was almost entirely drowned in white, there was nothing.
        Part of me wondered just how widespread this all was.  Was it just the lobby?  Could it be the entire hotel?  Worse yet, could it be the entire convention, all three hotels?  The worst case scenario was certainly if this had somehow affected the entire world, but that seemed unlikely, and even if it did, how many others outside of Boston would that really affect?  And if others were changed, what were they doing in costumes at the time?  I don't think I'd want to know the answer to that.
        "Don't worry, I've got a laptop back in my hotel room.  I can see the images full size, and then see what there is to see.  There's only one problem.  Getting from here to there."
        Meggan gave me a pat on the shoulder.  "Don't worry, I can get you back downstairs  I wouldn't trust the elevators now.  Even less than usual.  No idea what could be inside, or how long they're going to keep working."
        While we'd been talking, the chaos below had gone almost forgotten.  I'd begun to hear shots, from conventional weapons, and even some from more unconventional ones.  I shouldn't have been surprised to hear the occasional laser blast, what with the Stormtroopers and Jedi I'd already seen, but hearing them in reality, even one as warped as mine had become, was still new.
        Meggan picked me up under the arms, holding me firm, but not hard, and flew off over the balcony wall again, this time meaning to have me in tow.  Without the Ms. Marvel side of her being in control, she was still new at all this, and nearly cracked my legs into the wall from not flying high enough.  I was fortunate enough to lift them over the edge, and felt the toes of my shoes just barely skim the top, and catch a vine that wrapped around the edge, which I kicked off with ease.
        She flew off and headed down into the center of the storm below so fast, that I couldn't stop her.  If I had time, I would have reminded her of the holes in the ceiling above us, much closer than below, and much safer.  Meggan wasn't used to thinking of where to fly, so naturally thought of going for the doors.
        My feet were already touching the ground before I could suggest we go in the other direction.  Bodies were scattered around us, some eaten, some shot, some just trampled.  There were others laying on the floor in shock, and they seemed to consist of others just like me, who had managed to not be killed yet, and had decided to just get out of the way.
        I turned towards Meggan, who was blasting away at a pirate who was rushing her with a sword.  He didn't seem to be dead, but when he fell to the ground, his clothes smoking from the blast, I wasn't sure how he could be alive.  I felt sorry for all these people dying for no other reason than they were being controlled by other forces.  They were still people in these costumes, somewhere.  If the process could be reversed, most of them should be salvagable, but if they were dead, killed because of urges that weren't there own, then there was no hope for them.
        As I turned to my friend to try and get some further assistance in escaping the hotel, a blue, furry creature leapt out from some of the plants, and landed on her back.  I could tell as they both fell to the ground that it was the X-Men's Beast, or rather someone who had been dressed up as the Beast.  Blue, furry, acrobatic.
        They rolled around on the ground, struggling, and as I wondered why the change would cause the Beast to attack one of his close friends in the comics, I could see several cuts and wounds through his fur, and the signature teeth of a Marvel Zombie, mere moments before he bit into Meggan's bare shoulder, tearing out a chunk of flesh.
        She screamed in pain and blasted him off with her powers.  He remained alive, if smouldering.  Meggan struggled back to her feet, stumbling in her heels on the tile floor.  She moved closer to me, holding the cut with her other hand.  I could see blood oozing between her fingers and down her arm.  When she looked up from the wound and towards me, I could see a growing emptiness in her eyes, filling with hunger, and her lips pulling back, revealing her own teeth, as she began to succumb to the infection of the zombies.
        "So hungry," she moaned, and moved ever closer to me.  Things had just gone from bad to worse, and I was right back where I started from, stuck on the lobby of the Hyatt, with a zombie closing in on me.
        I couldn't bring myself to even raise my camera to strike her down, even if she was a zombie, she was my friend.  And deep down, I didn't think it would have done any good.  All it would do was possibly ruin the camera, and the pictures.  Maybe if I fell, someone else would come along and be able to make use of anything I had there.
        Resigning myself to my fate, I stood tall, and looked the former Meggan in the eyes.
        As I was about to see my last moments, I heard a loud gunshot ring out, removing all other sounds from my ears.  As my ears stopped ringing, I realised that Meggan was now missing a head, as her body slumped down to its knees, then fell over, almost right on top of my feet.
        I jumped back out of the way as blood poured out of the meaty stump where her head had once been, not wanting to touch it, for fear of being contaminated.  I didn't even know if it would affect me, being a normal human, and not some refugee from a comic book.
        With Meggan's body lying dead at my feet, I turned my attention elsewhere, as another shot nearby rang out, and the still smoldering zombie Beast also fell back to the ground, another wound added to his collection.
        My gaze turned in the direction of the firing, and I saw a young man with dark hair, a blue dress shirt, and khaki pants standing there, and a shotgun outstretched and still smoking, held in a metal hand.  My life had been saved, and a friend's ended, by the fortuitous arrival of someone dressed up as Ash from the Evil Dead series of films.
        In that distinctive voice that only Bruce Campbell has, or had until now, he said, "And that's what we've got boomsticks for.  Now hurry up, chowderhead, we've got more zombies to kill, and not enough bullets."

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