Monday, November 7, 2016

Jailbreak (Superhero fic)

[Yorth previously appeared here, which would have happened earlier.  When she was captured she was on her own and not actively heroing.  This is definitely the third thing I've posted in this continuity, but it could be more than that depending on how I eventually end up combining (or not combining) various superhero fictions into discrete continuities.]

“I don't even have powers; I just got a blood transfusion once.  Blood; not bone marrow!” the new captive shouted.  “I don't have any way to produce any new super cell thingies and the ones I got must be dead of old age by now.  I'm not--”

“If you don't have superpowers,” one of the guards said, “then you're useless to us.”

“Exactly,” the captive agreed.  He clearly didn't see where this would lead.

“So there's no point in us wasting space, food, and water on you,” the guard continued.  “Of course we can't just let you go either.”

The guard paused for effect.  They were big into dramatic flair here.

Yorth had originally assumed that the reason the cells were all equipped with always active intercom systems was to encourage the captives to talk, and thus, perhaps, accidentally reveal information that interrogation couldn't pry loose.  She was increasingly of the opinion that it was instead that the guards liked having an audience.

“So I guess we'll have to kill you,” the guard said.  Another pause.  “If you don't have powers.”

“Oh I've got powers up the wazoo,” the captive said.  “Down it too.  I can fly, and shoot laser beams from my eyes, and make people's heads explode, and so much more.  I just, you know, took an oath not to use them after an unfortunate incident involving a hamster and a tow truck.”

“That's what I thought,” the guard said.  A few steps later he stopped, pointed to a cell, and said, “This is yours.”

The guard punched a button on the control panel, the clock on it stopped.  Yorth hadn't figured out how the codes worked, but they seemed to change based on the time and date.  The guard looked at the figure, probably did some calculations in his head or something, punched in a code, authenticated with hand print and some form of eye scan, Yorth had yet to determine if it scanned the retina, iris, something else, or some combination of the three.

Then the guard stood back and took a more active interest in actually guarding the captive while his silent partner punched in a different code and authenticated with a thumbprint.

Given that the cells were primarily composed of one foot thick glass, the door opening was its own little automated production.  It wasn't as if they could simply pivot or slide to the side.  Locks were disengaged, the door slid forward until it was clear of the cell and then it slid sideways out of the way.  Complete with unnecessary sound effects, of course.

Always with the drama.

The captive was given a small shove to speed his passage through through the doorway.

Closing the cell door was as simple as one of the guards hitting a button on the control panel, and then watching the automated production of the door opening, but in reverse.

After the guards walked away, the new captive said, “Well this is just great.”

Someone announced, “We can all hear you, so please keep any whining or moaning to yourself.”

“Yeah, everyone's got their own self pity to wallow in,” someone else said, “we don't need yours too.”

Yorth rolled her eyes.  This really was a welcoming bunch.

The new captive looked around, not exactly hard given that the room was filled with glass cells, and then his eyes fixated on Yorth.

After a few moments, she asked, “What?” with a fair amount of annoyance.

“I know you,” he said.

Unlikely, Yorth had a pretty good memory, and he wasn't in it.  “I doubt that.”

“Ok,  I mean I know of you,” he amended.  “A while back I lived in this city on the west coast and they had a team of quasi-law enforcement--”

“That was a while back,” Yorth said.

“Can't you--” he started to say.

“Do you see any dirt in here?” Yorth asked.  “Stone?  Are there granite counter-tops or gravel walkways?”

And, predictably, that got everyone talking.

A tired voice said, “Elementals are useless because of what this place is made of.”

“Unless you know some plastic elemental who's just dying to save us,” came a caustic voice.

There were no plastic elementals.  It was hard to even imagine what one would be.  Dead algae and plankton suggested some sort of necro-plant elemental, if such a thing existed.  The heat needed to convert it into crude suggested fire.  Yorth wasn't even sure what the pressure suggested, though perhaps it and the heat meant nothing; metamorphic rock was as natural to her as the protolith form it had been.

Really it was the process by which plastic was formed from crude that divorced it from the domains of any elemental she knew of.  It was like imagining a gasoline elemental.

“Not a lot of carbon nanotube whatever the hell that material is--” another voice called out.

Someone who should have known better tried to be helpful: “It's--”

“I wasn't asking.  Not a lot of people have an affinity for that stuff either.”

“Wards and charms keep magical powers suppressed.”

“Some kind of electronic field thingy limits the range of sensory aspects of--”

“Meaning that even if someone is strong enough to reach outside of the facility for materials or aid, they can't feel the materials or locate the aid they'd contact” a very annoyed voice cut in.  “Can we not rehash all of this every time some new guy comes in and thinks we haven't already thought of all this?”

“But we haven't even gotten to--”

“Do.  Not.  Start.”

Yorth sighed and looked at the new captive as debate and acrimony grew throughout their prison.

“Same old fights,” she said.  “Every time.”

“This,” the new captive said rapping his knuckles on the glass of his cell, “isn't plastic.”

“It's because glass has a higher melting point and they wanted something clear,” someone said.

“So, what's glass made of?” the new captive asked.

The answer was obvious, but the realization that came with it was much slower, and she felt stupider and stupider every moment it grew for not realizing it herself.  Still, she'd had reason not to think about it too deeply.  If people who had super strength, could walk through walls, could turn into mist, could bend and break the laws of reality, could open inter-dimensional portals, could . . . so much more couldn't make it passed the defenses, then what hope did she have?  She'd never even seriously considered an escape plan after the first few weeks.  Nothing that looked like the earth she could control in sight, people way more qualified to make an escape plan than her had never come up with anything that might work even given a lot more time.

“Sand,” she said slowly as the implications flowed through her.

She could bend earth to her will and they'd put her in a prison made of sand.

She had to think of every countermeasure, everything that had kicked in to stop people who had tried to escape before.  She'd need her first moves to take out a variety of systems.  It would be difficult, maybe impossible, but it was worth a try.

“So be a hero, hero,” the new captive said, “because I have seriously got nothing.”

“Just a blood transfusion?” Yorth asked.

The new captive nodded.

“What the Hell are you two going on about?” someone asked.

“Something stupid,” Yorth said.

“Something crazy,” the new captive said.

“Just be ready,” Yorth said.

A jaded voice asked, “What for?”

Yorth answered with actions, and every cell exploded outward, chunks and shards of glass flew at her command and she sent them to every stun turret, every tranquilizer gun, she smashed closed the vents that delivered the paralytic gasses, she destroyed everything that could project hypnotic or disruptive light or sound.  She lashed out at everything.

The cameras being destroyed were more of an afterthought than part of any thought out plan.  Their captors would know what was going on regardless --what else but an escape attempt would do what she was doing-- though keeping the specifics from them could prove useful.

Everyone was still talking, but the tone of the conversation had changed.


“You!  Um . . . strong girl, I need you to smash through this section of the floor so I can defuse the runes underneath.”


“Send a power surge through this.”


“Everyone who's so much as heard the phrase 'trans-Klinian portal' on me.”


“What should I --?”

“Weld this damned door shut!”


“When this all fails, and we're all made to suffer, I just want you to know that however I may scream, and whatever I might say denouncing this, this is totally my favorite attempt so far.”


“It is not always the red wire.”