Sunday, February 06, 2005

Meet Joshua Wander, Part Fourteen

Art by Sherlock, adapted from an early draft of Rani's portrait.Joshua Wander's story is too long to summarize here. Please see Part Seven for the story up to that point, and Part Twelve for most of the rest. Links to earlier installments are now on the sidebar.

Part Twelve: Chris/Josh insists on going to see Professor John Grayson. He and Rachel both think he's probably at the lab rather than the funeral home. Indeed he is. Josh and his friends find Officer Hennigan unconscious outside the lab. Leaving his friends behind, Josh goes through the door to confront Grayson.

Part Thirteen: Grayson has Officer Cindy Farrell tied in Rachel's chair in the lab. Grayson has been experimenting on himself as he experimented on Chris, and now he's trying to recreate the circumstances of Rachel's death, secretly recorded on videotape. Chris/Josh manages to interrupt the power to the lab, reducing Grayson's ability to use energy as a weapon. Just then, Hennigan, Onclemac and Jerry finally make it past the locked door and rush in.

Part Fourteen: Human Shield

“Careful! He’s still dangerous!” I called out to my friends. I needed to protect them, but how? A force field, maybe? Was that possible for me?

Probably not. But I could at least put myself between Grayson and the people who were still completely human. That way I could intercept any energy-based attacks. Fortunately, Grayson was momentarily distracted, presumably trying to figure out how to turn the power back on. Unfortunately, Harry and Jerry had fallen back at my shout, while Hennigan had continued forward to free his partner. I couldn’t protect them all. I just had to hope that Grayson wasn’t interested in hurting Jerry and Harry, while Hennigan and Farrell and I interfered with Grayson’s plans. Watching my opponent carefully, I gave Hennigan a second or two to get to Farrell. Then I stepped into the theoretical line of fire. By then, Tim Hennigan had pulled the leads off Cindy Farrell’s head and thrown them on the desk.

“How dare you?” Grayson said. He raised his hands again. I didn’t think any energy he might send Farrell’s way, now that the power was off, would get to them through me. Still, I didn’t want to take a chance. I needed to get Grayson’s attention back on me, fast.

“Leave them alone,” I said. “Officer Hennigan is doing exactly what he’s supposed to do. And anyway, why do you care? Your experiment is over, and I’m the one you’re angry with.”

“Oh, I’m more than just angry,” Grayson said.

“Yeah, I know that. You’re more than angry. You’re mad.”

“He’s also in big trouble,” Cindy Farrell said, rubbing her wrists. “John Grayson, you’re under arrest for trespassing, wrongful detention, reckless endangerment, and two counts of assaulting a police officer.”

I had to admire Farrell’s nerve, saying that when she was still unarmed. Unfortunately, that put Grayson’s attention back on the two cops. He glared at Farrell. “Oh, you think so, do you? I rather think not.” He aimed a ball of electricity over my shoulder, directly at Farrell. I launched myself along the same trajectory, deflecting the energy upward. Sparks and arcs shot between fluorescent tubes. I watched the light show from my new position—surrounding Farrell with my human-shaped form of protective energy.

“What are you doing?” Hennigan asked. He sounded panicky.

Do it, Rachel, I pleaded silently. Stay here and show yourself while I go protect the others.

All right, but I still think this is a mistake, Rachel replied.

There was a gasp from Jerry and Harry, Tim Hennigan and especially John Grayson as I moved away from Cindy Farrell. Only she didn’t look like Cindy Farrell now. She looked exactly like Rachel Grayson.

Rejoice, Becky: it doesn't end next week, either. We're looking at at least two more weeks.

Joshua Wander in Musings:
Part One Part Two Part Three Part Four Part Five Part Six
Part Seven Part Eight Part Nine Part Ten Part Eleven Part Twelve
Part Thirteen

No comments: