Please ensure you vote for the next action after you read this week’s chapter! Good luck, Observer!
You have to act quickly. He could pull the trigger at any second. These Earthlings are brutal.
“No. No!” she screams holding her hands up as if shielding herself would prevent him from blowing her head off.
You raise your own hand, out of habit, not necessity, and focus on an old tire, and with the flick of the wrist send it flying at the lead. It hits him square in the back and causes a shot to go off, and he tumbles forward.
The other two soldiers turn to face your direction looking for the source.
“You are a super,” the lead says as he struggles to his feet. He glances at the tire as it rolls with a wobble around the corner of the alley and out of sight.
“What? No!” She seems more terrified now than when he was about to shoot her.
He raises his pistol again. You look for something else to throw, but there is nothing else around that you could quickly move and do damage with. You instead focus your energy as he takes aim.
He fires and an electric-blue pulse crackles and radiates across a sphere around the girl.
They all are frozen for at the brilliance of the blue, and for a moment you are too.
“What the hell?” The lead says as he takes aim again. She backs up a step. But there’s that terror again. Is she even more afraid now?
He fires again.
Bang. Bang. Bang.
“It’s not me!” she pleads. Her voice cracks as she speaks. “I’m not doing this! Please. I’m not a super.”
He laughs. “Oh, really now?” he says as he holsters his pistol. The other guards are tentative, but keep theirs pointed at her.
He walks cautiously around the barely visible shield—inspecting it. Her eyes dart around seeming to look for a way to escape, but always coming back to focus on him.
You are concentrating on holding the shield in place, but it does take energy, and you can’t hold it forever. It’s meant for short bursts of protection in a battle to give you time to counter an attack.
“I have to admit it, Kid. This is a new one.” He looks down at the ground near his feet and kicks at something. “You’ve been hiding this power from us.”
“I swear to God. I’m not doing this,” she says as her shaky hand wipes away a tear.
“You know,” he says as he squats down and picks something up and inspects it between his fingers. “Cornelius will be very interested in a super who can melt bullets.”
He holds up the flattened metal piece as he stands then tosses it at her. She flinches as it sets off another electrical wave.
You feel a vibration in your pocket.
“Urgent message for Sojourner from Home Ship,” Computer says in your ear-piece. “Would you like me to read it?”
You reach up to your ear to tap-to-ignore, but you accidentally hit the side of a nearby box which rattles something glass inside.
You duck down as they turn, but before they can see you.
“Sergeant Elias,” one of the soldiers says. “Her shield is down.”
The three of them raise their weapons simultaneously to the girl, but a split second later she is behind them. She kicks Sergeant Elias in the back, then, before the others react, she drops down and spin-kicks them at knee level. You hear a leg snap, followed by one of their heads bouncing off the concrete with a sickening thump.
She’s back up and about to make another move when a shot goes off.
She lets out a scream, grasps her thigh, and falls to the ground. Sergeant Elias walks up to her and takes aim.
You move before you have time to think it through.
You burst through the stack of boxes sending them flying in all directions.
All eyes on you, Sojourner. Make Jackie proud.
Eyes wide, Sergeant Elias turns his pistol to you as you charge. You jump to the right as the shot goes off. Your speed and strength are enough to allow you to run along the side wall. The brick facade crumbles with each step. You stumble slightly but continue on.
You push off, rearing back your fist then connecting with Sergeant Elias’ chest just as you land.
His chest collapses around your fist before he flies backward. His boots collide with the head of the remaining and momentarily conscious soldier. But crumple in a heap to the ground.
A helicopter zooms over the alley, and you see a soldier inside point at you before they disappear behind over the roof of a building.
“Let’s go!” you say to Kid holding out your hand.
She drags herself backward leaving a trail of blood.
“Who are you?” she says through her pain.
“Doesn’t matter! We have to get out of here. There’ll be more coming any second!”
You’ve never felt more vulnerable than this moment. Everything is wrong.
She looks at your hand then around the alley.
“Dammit, let’s go!” you say as you reach down, grab her by the arm and toss her onto your shoulder.
“Ow!” she says pounding you in the back. “My leg! I’ve been shot.”
You find the spot and stick your finger into the hole. She screams.
“You hit me again, and I rip you wide open.”
“Ok. Ok. Are you insane?”
“I need you to tell me where to go. To hide.”
She doesn’t answer, and you can’t see her face. You can hear the helicopter approaching.
“Out the alley. Take a left.” She sounds defeated.
You follow her directions and find yourself in the same spot where you ran into the other Earthlings. The ones who laughed at you.
“Yo, there she is!”
You turn to see the big man that you knocked down earlier. He’s smiling, but that quickly fades when he sees your bloodied passenger.
“What the hell?”
You turn to Kid. “Where to?”
“To the end of the block and take a right at the corner.”
“Block? I don’t know what that means.”
“What? To the end of the street.”
You run past the group of men, dodge shoppers, kids playing with water guns. You feel the stares. You feel the fear.
You feel the fear inside of you.
You take a right at the corner.
Tires screech as you bound across car hoods. You see the look in the drivers’ eyes. So many eyes on you.
“Through those trees!” Kid says as she twists and points.
A small grove of green among the gray, red, and brown of the surrounding area. It’s no oasis. The stench of garbage and rot immediately fills your nostrils. You follow a worn path littered with garbage and discarded appliances. A couple of abandoned tents standout amongst the green. You come to an opening.
“Follow the tracks.”
You look to your left down the track. Its metal rails are warped as if the earth shifted underneath them; some sections are completely missing. You wonder how a train could have ever followed such a winding path. To your right, you see the skyline of DC. The Washington Monument standing tall as a beacon in the setting sun.
“You’ve lost a lot of blood,” you say dropping to a knee. “You need to heal.”
“Heal?” she says as you lay her down. She looks around in confusion at the surroundings. “Uh, I’ve been shot! Do you not see where we are?”
You reach to your distress pocket and pull out your emergency pack. The packaging is made of nochetta—a light absorbing fabric that is the darkest material in the known universe. It also expands to form an excellent cloak for night cover.
“What the hell is that?” she says staring into the package. It is mesmerizing to look at. Her spell is broken as you pull it open to reveal its contents—tools, medicines, and ointments.
“Healing,” you say as you work. Muscle memory ingrained from ProtoTerra quickly puts the extractor together.
“Who are you?” she says watching your fingers move. “You’re not from…here…are you?”
You don’t make eye contact.
You rip open her pant leg to reveal the hole.
“Geez, lady! You’re not gonna operate on me out here!”
“Hold still,” you say as you apply pressure a few inches above the wound. You move the tool closer. Then she slaps it out of your hand.
You grab her by the throat.
“Listen to me,” you say through gritted teeth. “I’m trying to save your life. We’re both need to get out of here, and we can’t do that if you fight me.”
You see her eyes well up with tears and loosen your grip then let go.
“I’m sorry,” you say and pick up the extractor. “Please. Let me do this. It won’t hurt.”
She looks at you down her nose. This is your first good look at. She can’t be more than fifteen years old. You hear the sounds of a helicopter thumping in the distance.
She nods her head.
You place the tool at the entrance of the wound and give it a squeeze. A burst of spray anesthetizes the entryway and everything around it as you push it in.
She gasps. “It’s cold,” she whispers.
The extractor vibrates to signify it’s reached the bullet. You give it a twist to engage and slowly work it out. You inspect the bullet and toss it aside. You flip the tool, reinsert it into the hole and hold down a button to release the healing agent as you ease it out.
“That’ll be ninety percent healed in thirty minutes,” you say as you break down the extractor again. “Are we safe here?”
She nods. “Nobody around here until after dark. It’s a homeless camp. They’re working the streets until nightfall.”
You reach into your pocket and pull out your tracker. You swipe up to initiate communication.
“What the hell is that?” Kid says sitting up.
“Awaiting your return, Sojourner. All secure,” she says in your ear.
You tap the location she sent you and hold the tracker flat. A hologram of Earth is projected at eye level.
“Oh my God! What is that?”
“It’s my tracker,” you say then look at her. “It’s my way home.”
“Home?” she says as you use your free hand to zoom in to a blinking green dot on the east coast of North America. You zoom in until you see your pod hovering just to the south of downtown DC.
“Is…is that your spaceship? At the National Mall?”
You nod your head, turn off the tracker then slip it back into your pocket as you stand up.
“My name is Sojourner. Sojourner Truth. I’m an observer from a planet from a distant galaxy on the other side of the universe.”
She blinks at you in unbelief. After a moment, she wiggles her leg and stands up. She squints in pain as she tests her weight. She extends her hand.
“I’m Kid Sensation. Leader of The New Recruits. Destroyer of those who seek to destroy. Judge of those who seek to judge us.”
You smile. You’ve admired her bravery from afar, though her tactics are a bit questionable.
You shake her hand and nod. “Nice to meet you, Kid,” you say then turn to leave.
“Wait. You can’t just leave me here.” You hear her hobbling after you.
“I have no choice,” you say over your shoulder as you turn towards DC. “I saved your life. You’ll be back to normal soon.”
“You saved my life?”
The anger in her voice causes you to turn.
“Saved my life?” There is anger and hurt in her eyes. “You just killed everyone that I love.”
You look at her. You try to hide the confusion, but you know your expression betrays you.
“They didn’t know I was Kid Sensation. They didn’t know I had powers,” she says pointing at her chest. She clenches her jaws as a tear falls down her cheek.
“They’ve seen my face. I saw one of the soldiers activate their body camera when you attacked. They’ve seen both our faces. I’ll be all over the news.”
Suddenly you understand.
She ways her arms wide. “‘Kid Sensation exposed!’ they’ll say. The great leader unmasked!” She walks up to you and stares up into your eyes.
“You should have let me die. It would have been better to be martyred for the rebellion. Now every friend of mine will be brought in, questioned, and harassed. Someone will talk. They always break.”
You stand in silence.
She points a finger to your face.
“Sorry? Then prove it.”
“They’ll be coming for my family tonight. Help me get them into hiding.”
You look toward DC then back to Kid.
“What about the other supers? The ones in The New Recruits?”
“I was to meet up with them after the protest. They were told to lay low if they didn’t hear from me. No attempts at communication in case one of us got made.”
You look back towards the city. You’re so close.
Your tracker vibrates in your pocket. You hold up a finger to Kid and tap your ear-piece.
“Sojourner, your urgent message from HomeShip has not been read. Would you like me to read it?”
You pull out your tracker and set it to speaker mode. You motion for Kid to come closer.
“Go ahead, Computer.”
“Message reads as follows: Sojourner, we have temporarily restored communication after the attack. Your distress signal has been received, but we have lost communication with Home World. Trying to restore. Return to Home Ship immediately. All Observers have been recalled. I repeat. Return to Home Ship immediately.”
The choice is yours, Dear Reader. Choose wisely.
Click your choice, then hit the Vote button to submit your choice.