42.1 Procedure

Bettie woke up half an hour earlier than she’d planned.  It wasn’t her alarm, the horrible, jarring shriek that she had to keep her wrist-com set to when she was asleep did it instead.  Awful as the noise was, it did its job.

“Hello?”  She managed to keep her voice clear despite the exhaustion.  “Sorry, I mean, this is Operative Bettie Boom.  Go ahead.”

“Operative Bettie, this is your Analyst, Liz Potts.  I’m aware that you’re scheduled for standby today but I thought you should know Operative Dauntless has accepted a specific assignment.  Simple escort, no combat expected, but you’ve only got about twenty minutes to get there.”

Bettie didn’t curse.  She wasn’t that type of girl.  Still, it would have felt nice right then.  “Understood Analyst.  Please send me the address and I’ll be on my way.”

The other woman acknowledged and disconnected.  A moment later, her com gave a much less horrible beep and Bettie found two files waiting for her.  The first was the address and a description of the building, along with a couple of suggested routes to take.  It took Bettie a second to realize why the first one looked so weird.  It was a nearly direct route, completely ignoring the roads and it even included the distances between rooftops and relative elevations.

Heh, that was so cool.

The other file was an app for her com.  It gave her directions to get around the Citadel HQ.  That was even cooler.  No more wandering around lost or having to put up with vaguely disturbing speeches from people she barely knew in exchange for showing her to her room.  Bettie’s ankle twinged a bit at the thought but the bite had been really shallow.  It had healed up pretty much all the way overnight.  It would’ve been nice to know how a mouse or a rat managed to bite through the thick boots.  The material was ballistic rated an should’ve been proof against a knife, much less little tiny rat teeth.

Oh well.

Minutes later, she was dressed in her black and white uniform.  Even though combat wasn’t ‘expected’ she’d had enough ‘no you can trust us, it’s totally not a fight-sim’ training exercises turn into ambushes that she knew to be prepared.  She was wearing the heavy vest with the ceramic inserts and the tac-helmet, just in case.  As a bonus, the helmet synced up to her wrist-com to display the route she’d picked on her face screen.  It made it feel like she was playing a video game while she was jumping from roof top to roof top.

Okay, it wasn’t exactly jumping.

Bettie’s power wasn’t physical.  Well, it was, sort of.  She could enhance and redirect kinetic reactions.  Not on a sustained basis, just in short bursts.  Timing was an issue.  The easiest ones to affect were the ones she created herself.  During her first few weeks of Basic, everyone else had thought that she was a Strong type.  She’d been magnifying the impact of her punches and using the force of everyone else’s hits to… kind of block themselves.  It was hard to explain.

Right now, she was boosting the force of her jumps and landings.  It was actually pretty neat.  She hadn’t realized that when she jumped or kicked something or whatever, the force went into the ground and back up into her feet.  What she was doing was taking the part that would’ve gone into the roofs and reversing it back into herself.  Then, she’d double or triple it or whatever she thought it’d take to get her to the next building.

It should’ve hurt her pretty badly but she was immune.  As long as she had control of the force, it didn’t do anything to her.  Well, no damage anyway.  It did a good job of throwing her through the air.  Which was just ridiculously fun and the polarized screen on her helmet was vitally necessary to keep anyone from seeing the wide eyed grin she had while she was traveling.  Otherwise, her serious operative on a vital mission vibe would’ve been right out the window.

Her screen warned her that she was about to arrive at the Shady Leaf condos and it even had a little blue icon for Operative Dauntless.  Bettie tuned her last jump so that she’d land right next to him.  Her feet hit and she made sure to focus the impact up and around her, letting just a little bit of it touch Dauntless, just enough so he’d hear the ridiculously loud noise that tended to go with her power’s use.

That was where she’d gotten her name, Bettie Boom.

It… didn’t go the way she’d hoped.

Her impressive entrance was ruined when the big man turned towards her before she’d even straightened up.  She felt his big hand on her wrist, gripping tight.  Bettie’s eyes were wide and she snapped out a frightened “Dauntless!  It’s me, Bettie!” just in time to keep his upraised fist from slamming into her.

Dauntless let her go and took a half step back, dropping the hand but keeping both of them as fists.

“Bettie…”  His hands were shaking and there was something wrong with his voice.  “Bettie…  Don’t do that.  It’s… it’s not a good idea to startle me like that, okay?”  Mute, she just nodded.  “Next time, give me a little warning or… or at least don’t land so close to me when I can’t see you.  I don’t…”

“Sorry.” she said, quietly.


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7 comments on “42.1 Procedure

  1. I feel like she should definitely tell someone about the rat bite. In a world where superpowers exist, shouldn’t you be concerned with any sort of anomalous events like that?

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    • Agreed. We already saw how there was plenty of warning about Skinthief (the wounds that would not heal) but no one put it together that it was something bigger. You would think that an organization that has to be as institutionally paranoid as the Citadel would pound it into operative’s heads “report it, damn you”.

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    • Yeah, I’d guess it was Kelly testing the new recruit, but seriously. Not reporting something like that just seems phenomenally stupid, on a level which frankly threatens my suspension of disbelief.

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