When Teens Attack 4



Colin, the bullied teen I’d helped out a little by giving some enhancements and advice to, is on the lam. It would be more fun if he’d orchestrated a daring petting zoo breakout, but that’s a lamb. His big nemesis got taken down and is in custody. It should be a happy time. Let the ewoks dance. Except Colin beat up a girl in school and ran off. It’s high time I strip him of those enhancements.

I don’t know what they’ll do to the kid out here. I don’t feel like they’ve done just by my victims with this rehabilitative justice idea, but that’s not my call to make. The only justice I’m really prepared to mete out is killing him, and I’ve let worse people live. Same for that Daryl kid who bullied him. But what I can do is take back the ability to harm people that I gave him. There truly is nothing to the kid without that.

This wasn’t something that took a lot of work to figure out. It just got a little tense around town with some issues coming up. The Radium townsfolk who have been here the longest are starting to get a bit mad. They have some signs up about it, at least. Some militia twerps are walking around, too. They tried to look intimidating outside my windows. They don’t like that a bunch of people moved in and decided what was best for a community they’ve barely been a part of, including taking in supervillains and getting rid of most of the police force.

So I searched quietly, with a bunch of recon robots that flew stealthily over the town and ran everyone through facial recognition looking for Colin. Most of them worked their way out, while a few stayed around to run some patrols and identify spots for charging stations. It’s kind of 50/50 if the townsfolk would have liked me doing this, given this is the kind of things cops are doing elsewhere. I don’t know. I don’t have these answers. I’m just looking for peace and doing a shit job finding it.

Had a session with my therapist in the meantime. We’ve been trying this thing where I just cry the whole time. There was some talk in there from the therapist about not skipping my meds and not just assuming that all my problems have been fixed because I’ve had a shitload of supers rattle around in my head and declare the problem solved.

And that was followed up by reports coming in from the next town over. A teenager matching Colin’s description tore an ATM off the wall of a country store and smashed it open. There’s a manhunt in the woods of the town of Moose Whiskey, Minnesota. I dried my eyes and ran along toward the store. At the store, I activated my armor, including its new antigrav capabilities. I jumped up and kicked off the wall of a store to meet my armor in midair. Some people in “Radium is for Rockers!” tourist t-shirts took photos before I zipped off.

This came through as an official report, and while the Radium Sheriff’s Department only has a few people now, they’re still the most heavily-armed law enforcement around. The Exemplars tried to set them up to be able to handle if some of the supers in town got too big for their britches. That meant I had to get there if I wanted to solve this my way and hide that I’d helped make a teen boy capable of picking up an ATM. It’s going to be super hard to explain that away.

I landed near a bunch of Moose Whiskey Sheriff’s cruisers, throwing on a hologram of the Lady Guardian armor so they’d think they were talking to a hero.

“Hey, who are you?” asked a deputy who jumped out of the car he was in, nearly spilling his coffee.

“Lady Guardian. I was visiting Radium when I heard about your situation on the radio. Anything I can do considering I can fly?”

“Uh, hold on,” he went to get the radio. “Sheriff Topper, there’s a superhero here from Radium. She flew over, was wondering what she can do to help.”

The response was pretty rough, but the deputy relayed it to me. “He said to take a radio and a flare, uh then get in the air. If you spot the kid, signal everyone. They said watch out, the kid’s supposedly wearing some armor.”

Armor? That’s new. The deputy handed me a flare and a radio, and I took to the air. Not really a lot of help there, but I swept over the forest, switching vision modes to pick out thermal signatures. The forest teemed with life, big and small. I passed a herd of deer at one point, saw some rabbits and birds. Before long, the radio crackled. “Lady Guardian?” it sounded bit like the Radium Sheriff. “Get back here. This isn’t any of your business.”

Whoops. The radio slipped through my fingers and landed in the woods. Funny how that happens. It was another six or seven minutes when I saw an unusual heat signature in the woods, moving slowly. It looked like a human, with a large heat spot on the back. I swapped the flare out with the canister of nanites. I lowered myself into the woods, dropping the Lady Guardian illusion. “Hello, Colin. Where’d you get those duds?”

He was pulling himself up an incline, one hand wrapped around a smaller tree branch. The exeoskeleton he wore over his body made him stronger and better able to carry the armor plates over his torso. It didn’t make him any better at climbing up a hill. Instead, the added weight negated some of the benefits it and my enhancements conveyed upon him. “You can fly now?”

I looked down in mock surprise. “Holy shit, I can fly?!” I dropped to the dirt and leaves. “This is going a bit far, isn’t it?”

“You don’t get it! You get away with things all the time because everyone’s afraid to mess with you, but they’re going to lock me up for a long time. My life is over!” He was bending the branch pretty far, but he pulled himself up to the tree it came from and braced himself against it, staring down at me. “It’s over, all because I got stupid.”

I held up my hands in what’s supposed to be a calming gesture. “You’re not the first person to let a little power get to your head. What happened?”

“I beat Daryl, so I thought things were different, but when I asked Leann out, she laughed at me. She treated me like the same loser I was when all this started. I wanted to show her. I only meant to lift her up, but she screamed and kicked and I ended up throwing her. This got out of control, and I…” He’d been building up anger through all this, but at that point, he began to cry, his voice cracking. “I don’t know what to do.”

“I know this is going to be a hard pill to swallow coming from me, but it’s times like this where you have to show people you’re deserving of a second chance by standing down. You’ve got to give up the exoskeleton there, and you’ve got to give up the powers I gave you.”

“Then what’ll I be, huh?” he bawled. “I’ll be some weak nerd again with a criminal record and nothing else.”

“Very few people’s lives are defined by how much power they held,” I tried to reassure him. “I mentioned the potential hypocrisy of me suggesting you turn yourself in because I’ve gone the other way. I’ve killed so many people trying to prove I had power, but it doesn’t get you too good of a community. Other villains hated and distrusted me. The women and men who were after me, and some of the ones who still are, are the type who get off on hooking up with a killer and that’s not the kind of person you’re going to have a happy relationship with. Trust me. I didn’t get the chance you have now for too long. Stand down.”

Colin’s hands dug into the tree. The bark cracked, then he wrenched the upper part of the tree free of the base. “No!”

“Kid, do you know what Vampire: The Masquerade’s one rule is for when any vampire tries to fight Cain?”

“I don’t care about some old game!” he said, throwing the tree at me. It bounced off some other trees along the way and fell harmlessly to the ground.

I formed the nanites out into a shiny, liquid metal spear. I tossed it right into Colin, the spear twisting in midair to correct for my bad aim. The nanites swarmed over him when they hit. They disconnected the exoskeleton first, then dug into him. Colin collapsed in pain while the nanomachines went through and replaced metals, alloys, and minerals with calcium, protein, amino acids, etc.

“The one rule of any vampire versus Cain: you lose. Sorry, kid. This is for my own good.” It was probably for his own good, too, but a lot of my motivation here had been to help myself. While he screamed, I pulled out the flare, aimed it at the sky, and fired it off. The red light went up and made it clear where they could find Colin. I walked over then and rolled him over, pulling out the battery so the exoskeleton would be nice and useless. Figured I’d just take that with myself.

I knew when the nanites were finished because they flooded out of him and toward me, joining the nanite cape on my armor. The yelling was replaced by moaning and crying. “Sorry, kiddo. I am. Maybe if I’d never got involved, or got involved more. Maybe if the adults at school hadn’t failed you. What happened to you reflects badly on a lot of people other than yourself. But I’ll give you a tip. I think you can leverage whoever gave you that exoskeleton in exchange for leniency, and a chance to start over somewhere else. I think they’ll be amenable to putting you in witness protection elsewhere, seeing what happened to Daryl.”

I stuck around until I heard the canines and deputies closing in, then I threw on my holographic projection and took to the air.

One thing that I absolutely got right is that there were some failures from the adults, the people who should know better but lapsed in their responsibilities. Something’s got to change around Radium. And if the Exemplars don’t agree, I’ll change it myself.




2 thoughts on “When Teens Attack 4

  1. Pingback: When Teens Attack 3 | World Domination in Retrospect

  2. Pingback: Lightning Strikes | World Domination in Retrospect

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.