The First Time
Disclaimer: The following is a work of fan fiction based on the television series, Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future. It is in no way intended to infringe on the copyrights of Landmark Entertainment Corporation or anyone else who may have legal rights to the characters and settings. I don't own the characters. Only using them for a short time and will return them in relatively the same shape as when borrowed. As always, any errors or inconsistencies are of my doing.
Author's Note: Just a short pre-first season glimpse while my muse decides on where it wants to take another story I am working on. Nothing too deep, so don't worry. Enjoy.
Wiping her hands down her sides, Jennifer Chase forced herself to looked at the image in the mirror. She wished she knew exactly how to describe the way she was feeling. Her stomach felt queasy, her palms were sweaty, and she kept finding herself dancing on her toes ready to fight for her life.
The only problem was there was no identifiable threat that should make her feel this way. There was only her in the room. Her and the body suit that the Captain had handed to her a few short moments before. Looking at the image of her body in the blue and metallic material, the loose body suit seemed a far cry from the form fitting armor she saw on the other members of her team.
The thought tugged at the corners of her mouth. She was part of a team, not a soldier in Dread's army. The fact that Jonathon Power had asked her to become one of only five individuals in the universe to wear a Power Suit proved that.
In a few short minutes, she would walk out of her quarters and move to stand in the power center and perform the final act that would forever bind her to the men who waited. The thought caused a shiver to run up her spine.
What if something happened and the transformation failed? Sometimes she wondered if she really was human like the others. She didn't always think and feel like them. What if she was simply a machine sent to destroy everything Dread's enemy held dear? If that was the case, everything she had experienced, everything she had learned to feel, was simply a data program running in the circuits of her mechanical brain. Could that be the reason she had been able to escape – it was part of Dread's plan?
The possibility took Jennifer's breath from her lungs and caused her entire body to seize. Fingernails dug into her palms as she tried to still the pounding in her chest and force air into her lungs. Gasping for the oxygen moving into her body, she tried to ignore the competing voices screaming in her head – one telling her she was simply Dread's pawn to bring about Power's destruction; the other vehemently denying the veracity of that claim.
"Power to Chase. Everything okay?"
The sound of Jonathon's voice over the base communication system startled Jennifer. "Yeah, I'll be right there," she called, trying to make her voice seem normal.
Looking herself in the eye, Chase swallowed nervously as the doubts echoed in the recesses of her mind. Squaring her shoulders, she drew a shaky breath and told herself that the Captain would not have asked her if he had any of those doubts. She would have to trust him with this as she had with so many other things in the short time they had been together.
Not allowing herself time to change her mind, Jennifer turned and moved purposely out the door and to the command center. The four sets of expectant eyes watching her as she moved down the stairs almost made her pause. Forcing her body to continue, she stopped beside the machine that would soon send volts of electricity through her body, as another wave of trepidation passed through her soul.
"Pilot?" Captain Jonathon Power called, seeing her ashen features and haunted eyes.
Nodding slightly, Jennifer tried to force a smile on her face. "Just a little…," she stopped, not sure what to call what she was feeling.
"Terrified?" Matt Hawk Masterson offered lightly, understandingly. "That's normal. We all went through what you're feeling."
Looking at the others for confirmation of Hawk's words, Jennifer smiled tightly at the men nodding at her and took another shaky breath. "So what now?" she asked, looking back at the machine beside her.
"Once the activation starts, the suit is going to attune itself to every system in your body. When it's done, it can't be worn by anyone else," Jonathon explained, urging Jennifer to step into the lead chamber and gesturing for her to place her hands on the pedestals. "I'm not going to lie to you, it isn't pleasant and," he paused his eyes sober, "you need to know there is a chance that the suit could malfunction. If that happens, the whole thing could go and you could be killed."
Instinctively jerking her hands back, doubt again reared its head in Jennifer's mind. She hadn't realized she had allowed any of it to show until Jonathon touched her arm to draw her attention.
"If you're not ready, you don't have to do this," he said softly. "None of us will think less of you."
Darting a quick look at the others, she saw Power's words reflected in their eyes. "What if…" she whispered, beginning to give voice to the fears that threatened to overwhelm her. "What if I cause you to loose it all?"
"It's worth the risk," Michael "Tank" Ellis declared.
"Not that we want you dead," Robert "Scout" Baker quickly clarified. "I think the big guy is trying to say that if it works, you'll be able to help us in ways you can't now."
"Jennifer," Hawk said, stepping closer to her. "If the worse happens, it won't be the machine that we'll be grieving for. This," waiving towards the contraption that Stuart Power had built years prior, "is replaceable. You're not." Pausing to allow the implications of his words to sink in, he added, "Besides, we're four for four. I'll take those odds."
Looking again at her teammates and seeing that they were indeed allowing her to make this decision, Jennifer released the breath she had been holding. Reaching up, she placed her hands onto the silver conductors and squared her shoulders. "Let's do it."
Stepping back, Jonathon locked eyes with her. "It'll take less than a minute, but it will feel longer. When you're ready, all you have to do is say power on."
"Power on," she commanded, instinctively tensing for the anticipated jolt. Nothing, however, in her wildest imagination could prepare her for the onslaught that followed the two simple words.
Time stopped as blinding lights instantly danced in front of her eyes forcing them closed. At the same time, a piercing whine caused her head to pound in her ears and every nerve in her body came alive. Energy igniting a firestorm of activity and sensations – every one of which she was painfully aware of.
Electrical pulses jumped from receptor to receptor investigating, recording, and marking their path. Fire consumed her lungs as her heart attempted to pound itself through her chest. Her stomach cramped and rolled, threatening to empty its contents with each heave. Ligaments, tendons, and sinew screamed as they were stretched, contracted and contorted to measure how far each could go before snapping in two. And all the time, her mind screamed for released, wondering how long it would continue.
Just as suddenly as it began, it stopped, leaving only the echoed sounds of the power unit behind. Crumpling, Jennifer was saved from hitting the ground by hands grabbing her. Grateful, she clutched at Jon until she could regain her equilibrium. At the same time a disembodied voice stated, "Activation successful. Power level 100% of maximum."
Wondering who was talking, Jennifer opened her eyes and realized there was a visor covering them. "It worked," she whispered in wonder. She wasn't a machine after all. Her legs threatened to buckle again as relief poured through her.
"You made it," Jonathon said warmly, releasing his grip when he was sure she was no longer going to fall. Looking up and down her suit, he smiled. It fit her like a glove. "Don't worry. It's not like that every time."
Jennifer looked around confused. "There was a voice…."
Chuckling behind her, Matt answered, "We call her Mother. It's the suits' onboard computer. It can help with several things, but most importantly, it monitors the power status of your suit at all times and lets you know if it's getting to a critical level."
"And this?" Jennifer asked, having found the star shaped crystalline pieces in her belt.
"Throwing stars," Scout piped in. "Each one has the equivalent kick of a full blaster shot."
"Sweet," Pilot answered, eliciting a chuckle from the others.
"There's a lot to learn," Tank assured her.
"But, we've got time," Jon interjected. "Why don't you got get dressed and we'll talk when you get back."
Nodding her agreement, Chase raced up the stairs back to her quarters. Reaching it, she halted in front of the mirror she had stood at a short time before. This time, however, instead of trepidation and fear, she felt liberated.
Staring at her image, a smile erupted on Jennifer's face. For the first time in her life, she had an identity that did not involve serving the machine. She was no longer just the former Youth Leader Chase or Dread Youth. She was officially a resistance fighter; one of Power's team.
And for the first time in her life, she felt completely human.
POWERSUITS: The actual exoskeletonic armor and weapons systems worn by each featured soldier. In an uncharged state, the Powersuits can be worn underneath regular clothes. In this state they resemble cloth with various patterns of circuitry tracings attached. There are seven Powersuits in existence. At present, two are not in use. The suits are biologically attuned to one person: the first person wearing the suit upon initial activation. Anyone else attempting to use a Powersuit, besides its owner, would be killed upon activation. While each Powersuit has a specialized weapons system, some general characteristics are common to all the suits. The Powersuit enhances strength to an unknown, but super-human level and serves as body armor for protection against blasters and being digitized. Each suit has communications gear, a blaster, and special optical systems tactically augmenting the wearer's natural sight in various ways as needed. The optic enhancement can range from simple photochromatic reaction to light intensity to actually magnifying an image in size or calculating an objects distance, or providing a targeting gunsight. A Powersuit's charge can last for a week or so if used sparingly and switched off as necessary. In battle conditions, it can be depleted very fast depending on the size of the force being fought. The Powersuits are normally recharged at Powerbase or aboard the Jumpship, but can be recharged under emergency conditions by a sufficiently powerful source of electricity. Emergency recharges are very dangerous. In the field, Powersuits can be activated and deactivated by the wearer alternatively touching the Phoenix rising medallion/indicia worn on the chest. It has not been revealed if the voice command, "Power On!" is absolutely required to activate the suit. Each Powersuit has a voice synthesized warning system that advises the wearer of low power levels and/or critical suit malfunctions, problems etc.