AN: Marry Christmas! Here is the gift I promised all of you. I asked you to vote and this is the story that won... got to be honest with you I never expected this one to win. After the original draft got shot down so hard way back when I was first trying to write I really only decided to rewrite this one to prove to myself that I could do it. Having it actually get selected over the others blindsided me. But I promised you a story and I plan to deliver... I just may need to bounce some ideas off of wolfboy before I really get into the thick of things with this one. The runner up was Poltergeist which trailed by only three votes and a fair bit behind those two was The Saints. I'll consider giving more of my plot bunnies threads once I've finished Grind, and gotten my muse to cooperate more consistently, right now I've got a shit load of writers block.
Anyway! I don't own Worm, if I did I'd have a tv or ebook deal by now. Seriously, hurry the fuck up Wildbow! We all want to see the anime you work is destined to spawn!
My Name is Taylor
With a scream and a shriek of twisting metal the door of my locker blew off of it's hinges and I stumbled out in an undignified heap.
They had finally pushed too far. I'd weathered everything else the bitches three could throw at me without complaint, well ever since the staff made it clear I would get no support from them. Now though? Now for the first time in memory I wasn't just sad or depressed, I was angry.
Angry didn't quite cover it though. Furious, seething, enraged; all seemed better terms for the feeling of blood singing through my veins like a storm fighting for release.
They would pay. Ever blasted one of them was going to pay for this. I had power, I had evidence, and I was out of patience. If the school wasn't going to help then I just needed to go over their heads. And if for some reason they tried to stop me from going over, well there is always the option of going through.
Shoving a handful of filth into the front pocket of my hoodie I marched towards the office.
I could feel my power flexing as I walked, little balls of light would materialize around me mostly in the hallway but a few in random classrooms and above the ceiling tiles. Stopping mid step I tried to figure out how I knew that. Paying conscious attention to my power I realized I was getting a sort of sense of where things are around the little orbs of light. From the ones in the classrooms nearby I can almost hear whispers.
Shaking off the thought I kept moving. Some of the balls followed me moving around me like patrolling aircraft. A quick thought saw them organizing into squadrons and flying a more distinct formation circling around me.
With control seemingly at odds with my current mood I opened the door to the office and marched past the startled, sputtering, receptionist and right into Blackwell's office.
There sitting in an old chair typing at an older computer was my first likely obstacle to justice. The poor woman looked utterly stunned at my admittedly disgusting state. The look on her face took an even more sour turn as she tried to fight off the need to vomit from the smell. Lucky me I'd already emptied my stomach and spent… too much time going numb to the smell.
"What?" With a snarl and another flex of my power I cowed the woman to silence before she could properly form a question. The fact that the now dozens of orbs of light orbiting us made me feel safer was not unwelcome either.
Reaching into my hoodie I pulled out the wad of refuse from the locker and tossed it smack dab in the middle of the woman's desk causing her to jerk back as a few flecks of rotten blood and mold splashed loose just barely splattering her jacket and shirt.
"I've spent," I broke off to glance at her office clock. "Two damned hours, trapped in my locker with a pile of shit just like that which went up to my knees." I seethed. "In that time I have begged, screamed, and cried for help. None of the students, or staff, did anything to help me. As you can see I managed to get myself out."
Blackwell looked torn between fear and nausea. Good, that probably meant I was getting through to the bitch.
"You always told me there wasn't any evidence when I complained about bullying, well I've got a locker's worth now and I don't think anything you can do is going to be quite enough to cover this up. Call the police, I want Emma Barnes, Sophia Hess, and Madison Clements arrested."
The woman's eyes widened in shock, and fear? Why the hell would she be afraid?
"Now, Taylor," She began her tone placating. "I'm sure it isn't necessary to involve the police, after all there is-"
One of my balls of light slammed into her computer monitor causing it to explode, others slammed into the back legs of her chair. With a shriek Blackwell and her chair tumbled to the floor and the now terrified woman started scrambling away from me.
"Not, necessary? Not necessary!" I screamed. "Oh it's well past fucking necessary, you incompetent bitch!" A trio of my light bombs, or whatever they are broke off from circling the room and instead made a small circle right in front of Blackwell's face. The extra light made it easy to see just how rapidly the she paled. "Just sit there and be quite."
Reaching over I picked up her desk phone and dialed 911. Maybe if I was lucky they could arrest Blackwell for obstruction of justice while they're here.
"911, what is your emergency?" A calm and cool female voice spoke over the line.
"A group of students trapped me in my locker with, with, God I don't even know what to call this crap. I was stuck their for two freaking hours before I blew the door off its hinges. The principle just tried to convince me that I didn't need to involve the police but I've had it! I want them arrested!"
"Miss, I need you to calm down. Are you safe right now?" I took a deep breath trying to follow the operator's advice.
"Yes, yes, I'm safe right now. Though I'm covered in, I don't know, old rotting blood I think."
"Alright miss, I know it's going to be difficult but I need you to not clean yourself up. The officers will want to take pictures for evidence. Now did you say you blew the door off of your locker?"
"I," Shit, I should not go around telling people that I have powers. But, surely the police wouldn't go telling the gangs that I have powers. I could trust them, right? Besides how else could I explain saying I blew the door off it's hinges?
Hearing Blackwell whimper I mentally cringed. I suppose it was a bit late to worry about not letting on that I have powers. "Yes, I did. I'm sorry I just… I just got powers, in there, just now. I have these light, ball, things."
"Ok, miss. I want you to stay calm and whatever you do don't use them on anyone. Can you do that for me?" I wanted to be offended but glancing at Blackwell still cowering… I moved the orbs back a little bit. They now circled a few feet from her rather than six inches.
"Yeah, yeah I can do that. I, just please send someone to Winslow. The girls behind this are Sophia Hess, Madison Clements, and Emma Barnes. Though Sophia had to be the one to push me in. She's always the one who pushes me. I just can't put up with this shit anymore. Someone has to do something about them." I started to mumble towards the end.
"Ok, just one last question miss, what's your name and where are you right now?"
"My name is Taylor, and I'm in the principal's office at Winslow."
I could feel adrenaline bleeding out of my system taking some of my anger with me. Tiredly, I placed the phone back on the receiver only realizing too late that the person on the other end had started to say something else just as I hung up. It couldn't be anything too important though or she would have mentioned it sooner.
I slumped into one of the uncomfortable plastic seats Blackwell kept for students to sit in. slumping a bit I tried to get comfortable as I waited for police to arrive.
"Velocity, break off your patrol and head for Winslow high school." The voice of the trooper working dispatch crackled over my headset. I was pretty sure his name was Chuck… Though it might be Paul.
I took a moment to get my bearings before moving in what I was reasonable sure to be the right direction.
"On my way. What am I going there for?"
"PD got a call that they had to pass off to us. Patterson took the call he says we've got a fresh trigger threatening Stalker civilian ID."
I almost missed a step. That was bad, really seriously bad.
"Shit. I'll get there as fast as I can!"
"Head for the principal's office once you arrive, that's where the call came from."
Ten minutes of fighting the urge to take a nap by making the orbs my power produced fly in formation later I sensed, with that weird new spacial awareness my power granted me, someone slowly making their way through the outer office. I could almost make out the new arrival saying something to the secretary who, huh, when did she move to the corner?
I turned half around in the crappy chair leaning over the back and resting my chin on my arm. Now facing the door I waited for the new arrival to come in. Honestly I just wanted to get clean and get some sleep.
The door swung open to reveal a man in red spandex. I was, a bit surprised that someone had sent a member of the Protectorate instead of the Police, but I had admitted to being a cape so I guess it made sense.
Velocity took a moment to take in the whole room and just as I lifted an arm to wave he dashed forward in a blur and stuck something into my arm, before basically leaping back. Instantly I could feel my eyes start to close and my body start to slump.
"What?" I managed to mumble before my eyes slid shut.
Cautiously I opened the door to the main office taking a moment to glance around taking everything in. Depressing fluorescent lighting, walls painted something between grey white and yellow that seems to sap energy from the very soul, and desks covered in office supplies.
All in all exactly what one would expect… that is if I ignored the pale yellow balls floating in the room at various heights. Well at least that confirmed the presence of a cape.
A whimper from the back right corner of the room drew my attention to the secretary crouching in the corner behind her desk.
Internally I was whistling like a construction worker. Long blond hair, beautiful face, and her chest! Hello damsel in distress, why yes I am here to save the day! A glance at her desk as I worked my way towards her revealed a few CD's; Green Day, ACDC, Guns N' Roses! I have to get this woman's number! Right, game face, ladies love a hero in tights.
Crouching down to be on eye level I give her a reassuring smile.
"Hey it's all right. I'm Velocity, I'm here to help, talk to me, do you know where the cape who made those is?" I asked waving at some of the floating orbs. Shakelly the woman pointed towards the principal's office.
"S-she just marched in there. She was covered in blood!" The woman who's name I absolutely had to learn hissed. "There was some shouting and few crashes but it's been quiet for almost ten minutes now." She said looking worriedly towards the principal's office.
Blood was a bad sign, stuff getting smashed wasn't good either and this girl was supposedly after Shadow Stalker… yeah the kid needed to get shut down fast. Luckily I'm as fast as they come. The PRT could sort the rest out later.
Pulling a tranquilizer from my belt I moved to the door and opened it cautiously.
The Principal's office had the same bland depressing atmosphere as the main office with the added bonus of a smashed computer, smashed chair, teenage girl covered in blood and a woman who was clearly terrified and had several of the girls balls orbiting around her head. I held back only long enough for a few of the orbs to move out of my direct path and kicked my power into it's highest gear launching myself forward and injecting the tranquilizer into the girl's arm.
She managed to mumble something before toppling out of the chair unconscious. Breathing a sigh of relief I pulled out some zip ties.
Now all I had to do was get the secretaries number.
Groggily I fought my way back to consciousness. The memories came rushing back a few moments after I opened my eyes to a plain white cell.
"That no good fucking bastard!" I screamed at the walls even as my power reacted as fast as thought and the balls of light started to materialize out of the air. "Let me out of here you bastards! I called the cops to arrest a bunch of bullies not me you fucking screwups!"
No answer was forthcoming.
Bastards! This was so fucking typical! Tell someone in power you need help and they just brush you off or make things worse! Bastards!
With a scream I sent a series of the orbs crashing into the cell door. The door dented slightly but otherwise held firm.
I was contemplating using more when a low pitched hum drew my eyes to the ceiling where several silver orbs jutted out from the ceiling. The hum reached a crescendo and arcs of electricity filled the cell. For a brief moment I could feel my muscles seize and spasm as I collapsed to the floor and my vision faded out.
"Velocity, explain to me why you felt it necessary to tranquilize a girl who called the police because she had been assaulted." Piggot's voice cut through the conference room like a scalpel.
"I, what? You mean the new villain I brought in? Dispatch told me she was threatening to attack Shadow Stalker." The hell was she talking about?
The director fixed me with a piercing glare before tapping a few buttons causing a recording to start playing over the rooms speakers.
Every sentence made a sense of dread grow in my chest.
"I, all they said was she was going after Shadow Stalker." It was all I could think to say after the recording finished playing. Sighing Piggot nodded as she massaged the bridge of her nose.
"I was afraid you would say that." Looking up the woman glanced around the room, a few of the higher ups from the PRT as well as Armsmaster sat around the table. "The things miss Hebert said suggest that Shadow Stalkers has been harassing her for an extended period of time. That combined with the Principles reluctance to comment to our officers and the disturbing way the information was altered before reaching you suggests that several people have been covering for her behavior. Walker, find out who was covering for her and why. That she was getting away with this is completely unacceptable."
Nodding the man stood and left the room at a brisk pace.
"Now, miss Taylor Hebert, a fresh trigger who was attacked unprovoked by a hero while attempting to report a crime committed against them to the proper authorities. She is currently sleeping off a tranquilizer. She's been cleaned up and changed into some fresh clothes. We've also given her antibiotics to fight off any potential infections, all in all she should be fine. That said, she has now been attacked by two of our people." I tried to sink a little lower in my seat without making it completely obvious.
"She used her powers in a school without any kind of costume. If she walks out our doors I give it a week until someone forces her into one of the gangs. That said she likely is not feeling very charitable where we are concerned, even ignoring the fact she does not know Shadow Stalker is one of her bullies."
The director looked around the table. She let that sink in for a minute.
"I need suggestions, how do we get her into the Wards, we can hold her for forty eight hours, but forcing her to spend that much time in a cell won't make her any more charitable towards us. It's possible holding her will cow her into compliance, but that's a bluff at best. So, what are our options, people?"
I tuned out the rest of the conversation. I wasn't a cop or a lawyer, just a guy with a mediocre power collecting a paycheck. I had little to contribute. This day just got worse and worse. First the secretary was married and now this?
Could this day get any worse?
Carefully I materialized my, you know what I'm just going to call them drones. I materialized my drones carefully in the gaps of the walls and ceiling. It wasn't a lot of space to work with but it would be enough. I spread them out slowly working them through the building. Things sped up rapidly once I found the ventilation. In my mind I could picture each drones location and it's surroundings. Slowly as they spread out a map of the building began to form in my mind.
Vaguely I could hear murmuring. Closing my eyes I tried to focus on the noise.
"-it's just going-"
"-did you hear abo-"
"-watch it would y-"
"-dog chewed up-"
"-are we still on for-"
I could hear everything overlapping some words jumping out here and there. Hearing my name somewhere in the din I tried to focus on that voice, on that area. Slowly the number of overlapping voices trailed off.
"-burgers for dinner-"
"-kid loves spungbob-"
"-powers in a school-"
"-crumbs on your-"
"-not to call me that!"
There! Powers in a school, that was the same voice that said my name! I can do this, just have to focus.
"-No, you know how much I hate potato salad-"
"-know Shadow Stalker is one of her bullies.-"
What? Shadow Stalker, a hero, is, is one of. It can't be that's just. But, but what if it's true? I mean, it would explain a lot. It would explain why Blackwell had covered everything. It would explain the Protectorate coming running when I mentioned the trio's names. It would explain why Velocity had knocked me out when I had been the one to call for help. With a snarl I focused on the more intensely on the conversation.
"-get her into the Wards?- -hold her for forty eight hours- -holding her will cow her into compliance- -best.-"
My focus slipped as my emotions surged. How dare they?! How dare they try and force me into the Wards after everything they had done! After all the trouble they had caused me! I wouldn't do it. I would never join these bastards. I redirected my drones back to mapping the building. I needed a better idea of where I was and what I had to work with. Getting a map of the base would be my starting point.
But what would be my next move? I needed to plan ahead. I needed support to fight back against the Protectorate and the PRT. I needed an angle I could use against them. I couldn't go to a gang for help… Well I suppose I could go to the Empire, but as bad as the Protectorate seemed to be behind the PR lies the Empire was still far worse. No I wouldn't be going to Neo nazi's for help.
There was, one other option… New Wave. Heroes with no secret identity, heroes who hold themselves accountable for their actions. Maybe more importantly though one of the founding members is a lawyer.
A vicious grin started to spread across my lips. After all these months of my bullying being buried in part due to Emma's father being a lawyer the idea of having one on my side instead was to ironic to pass up. But how to reach them.
Slowly, ever so slowly and idea started to form and my grin grew ever wider, for a moment I fought an urge but quickly it became impossible to resist and I started to lough.
Half an hour of back and forth and we're no closer than when we started to figuring out a game plan. Honestly I felt bad for the kid, but mostly I just wanted out of this room. Knowing the director she was probably aware of that fact and it was the whole reason she hadn't dismissed me. Typical, I do the best I can with clearly false intel and I get punished for acting on what I'd been told.
The door to the conference room slammed open and some guy from one of the offices ran in panting lightly.
"Director, you need to see this!" He said, frantic and wide eyed.
The director just scowled at the man, who gulped before handing her the tablet clutched to his chest. Frowning the director looked it over. As she watched or read whatever was on the screen her face grew steadily paler before she abruptly stood and left the room without issuing any orders. Curious I and several others made our way over to the tablet. On the screen was a video. I clicked the replay button.
The screen showed the Protectorate headquarters out in the bay and above it a floating mass of light. Slowly the lights rearranged themselves into a giant letter, then another, and another.
MY NAME IS TAYLOR HEBERT. I AM BEING DETAINED. I HAVE COMMITTED NO CRIME. I WANT MY FATHER. I WANT A LAWYER. I WANT TO JOIN NEW WAVE!
The message repeated itself three times. Before the video ended.
"How widespread is this?" Someone asked.
"It's all over the PHO boards, and I think a few local news crews have already picked up the story." The guy who brought the tablet answered.
Someone started cursing. I just made my way back to my seat and rested my head in my hands.
How the hell had things gotten so far out of control?
AN: Merry Christmas everyone! Please remember to leave a review and follow or favorite!