Saturday, June 28, 2014

Teleporter Trouble

The powers bestowed by Demented's Disease have unusual properties. They defy all attempts at scientific understanding. Whatever technology they use is truly advanced. It you have the powers, you almost instinctively know how to use them. And you cannot use them in a way that would injure yourself. You can injure plenty of other people, though.
There were eight people on Earth empowered by the Disease. One of them, Bios, had been empowered years ago during the Timeless War. The rest were new. Inexperienced.
Of those seven, I identified three that I could capture and study without anybody getting too upset.
There was Flashpoint. His power had transformed him into a furry red creature with the ability to teleport short distances. He could carry small objects with him, which meant he had a great career in theft. Whenever he appeared somewhere, there was a sonic boom of displaced air, and he left an imploding vacuum in his wake.
There was Concept. A powerful mindreader. He seemed to be running around the country, making a killing in casino's and staying one step ahead of the law.
There was Raymond Harkness. He seemed to emit high levels of beta radiation. His wife had died of radiation poisoning, and his two children were in intensive care. He was holed up in a cabin somewhere, surrounded by police and military, while the world figured out what to do with him. I think everyone would be grateful if I made that problem disappear.

Flashpoint could teleport about twenty feet at a time. He could manage a jump every tenth of a second or so. That was equivalent to about a hundred and thirty miles per hour. That meant that I could actually travel large distances faster than him. Those flaming wings of mine were pretty freaking awesome.
It was pretty easy to track Flashpoint's trail of destruction as he fled Miami. A run-in with the Titanium Warrior went badly. It was easy to intercept him as he traveled along Route 41.
Well, it was easy to catch up to him. There's not much you can do to stop a teleporter on a cross-country trek. I could try to get his attention. But he was immersed in a world of constant sonic booms and rapidly shifting images. I don't think he'd notice a stranger yelling from the sky. I tried landing in front of him, but that required coming to a full stop. When he passed me, it took forever to get up to speed, catch up, and match velocities again. 
I wondered if the newly empowered villain was intentionally ignoring me. All I wanted was for him to stop for a few minutes. So that I could beat him up, kidnap him and imprison him in my laboratory for months or years. Why was he being so unreasonable?
In the end, I got his attention by blocking his way with a wall constructed from fifteen-foot billboards. Of course, he could teleport through the wall any time he wanted. But it got his attention. "Were you the guy screaming at me to slow down?"
"I thought I heard something." But you couldn't be bothered to actually talk with me until I'd flown up and down the interstate stealing advertisements for shaving cream. What an asshole.
"There's something I want you to steal."
The new villain eyed me suspiciously. He was wearing a trenchcoat and long pants. Hadn't even gotten a cool costume yet. "What is it?"
"Near Cape Canaveral. An experimental rocket drive. It is the first to use a deuterium reactor to heat inflowing air, and could be used to achieve incredible accelerations in the-"
"Don't care." Interrupting me in the middle of a science lecture. Heaven forbid he learn something while spreading mayhem throughout the American southeast.
"Okay." I pulled some paper out of my pocket. "Here's a picture. Here's a map. Here's a ten million dollar bearer bond issues by Exron. You get another fifteen when I see the rocket."
"How'd you get this? I thought you and Sabien Pallis were on the outs."
Maybe I stole it from someone else, moron. "I have my resources."
"How can I be sure you won't stab me in the back when this is over?"
"How can I be sure you won't betray me? You're power makes you a huge flight risk." There. I gave him the idea, hopefully, he'd act on it. Once he betrays me, I can stab him in the back without tarnishing my middling-poor reputation for honor among thieves. Not that anyone would believe my version of events regardless.
Right on cue, the criminal smiled. "Sure. Well, I have druterium drive to steal."
"It's pronounced deuterium."

Eighty-two minutes later, Flashpoint teleported out of the space research center. He was carrying something. "Here it is. Your drutron drive." Deuterium! How hard is it to remember the word deuterium?
"Thank you very much."
"Where's my money."
"In my submarine. Would you like to wait here while I get it."
"I'm not stupid." You're not smart enough to remember the word deuterium. "You think I'm going to let you get in you submarine and take off with my money. I'm coming with you."
"Very well." It was a short walk to the pier. I noticed three large Navy ships. Doing an excellent job there, Uncle Sam.
It was dark, nobody seemed to be keeping watch, and there was nothing the American's could do anyways. I brought the submarine up, and went in through the side door. Flashpoint teleported inside. Knocked over some furniture too. Even for a supervillain, this guy had terrible manners.
I walked to my safe. Flashpoint would have walked, if he hadn't been too busy teleporting a trail of destruction. After he knocked over his ninth lamp, I ran out insulting terms in English and started calling him a moron in Russian. Russian has a very extensive vocabulary for describing people you don't like.
I opened my safe. Put in the rocket. "You know," Flashpoint said. "I could rob you blind right now."
He had a point. I'd shown him my safe, filled with high-tech treasure that would be worth billions to the right buyer (the right buyer in this case being Sabien Pallis). He could grab in, and teleport out of the sub, over the water, and onto land before I could stop him. Best to play it cool.
"I don't think that would be a good idea."
"Why not?"
"I'm a powerful person. You don't want me as an enemy."
"I'm a teleporter. No bullet can hit me." Note to self: design a laser canon capable of neutralizing a target in less than a tenth of a second.
"I could pay you not to. Those items are worth more to me than anyone else."
"Maybe, but I've heard you're out of cash."
"Not entirely."
"How much do you got?"
"How much do you want?"
I could almost feel Flashpoint's though process. A million dollars! No a hundred million! A billion! "Ten billion dollars."
"Ten billion."
"You heard me."
"That is an obscenely large amount of money. What would you even do with that amount of money?"
"Vegas. Paris. Be a bigshot."
"With that kind of money, you would rent ten apartments in the fanciest hotel in the world, and drink nothing but the finest wine, and still not run out of money for two hundred years."
"So, seeing as most people only need one apartment and you aren't an alcoholic, should be more than content with a billion dollars, which is still more than I'd pay you."
"I bet Mephistopheles would give me that much."
Flashpoint began going through my possessions. "What's this?"
"I don't see why I'd tell you."
Flashpoint was trying to think of a reason, when I interrupted. "How about this. I tell you what everything is, and what it does, and I get to choose one item to keep"
Flashpoint turned the deal over in his head. "Fine."
"The object you are holding in your hand is a bar of Ultrasteel."
"Is it valuable?"
"Yes." That's why it's in my safe.
"What's this?"
"Experimental quantum computer I stole from Project X."
"Is it valuable?"
"Of course."
This went on for about five more minutes. The whole time, Flashpoint was eyeing the porthole. Making sure we were reasonably close to land, so he could make his way to shore without too many jumps.
Meanwhile, I was kicking myself for not installing better booby traps for my safe. All of them were designed to trap an intruder. None of them were much help against a teleporter.
"You know what. I'm just going to take everything." Flashpoint began putting everything in his pockets. I didn't do anything to stop him.
"Good bye, sucker. I'm about to disappear." Flashpoint didn't disappear.
He tried again. Nothing.
"What did you do to my powers?"
"I'm going to give my evil villain monologue now, where I explain how I captured you. But you have to promise to listen, and at least try to learn something." I'd once caught Vector dozing off as I explained one of my plans.
"Fine. What did you do."
"You can teleport into air, displacing the existing molecules. This generates pressures of dozens of atmospheres. You can survive this because the pressure is distributed fairly evenly throughout your body surface, and also probably because of some secondary mutations."
"That being said, you couldn't possible teleport into water. Water is much more dense than air, and not nearly as compressible. If you tried to teleport into it, I'm not sure what would happen. Probably something very painful for you and very interesting for me. There are reports of minor nuclear fusion events at those pressures."
"But I very much doubted I would get to see that. People with powers like yours can't harm themselves. If you can't teleport into water, and the surface is out of your range, you're stuck on my sub."
I anticipated his next question. "Oh, yes. You were looking through the porthole. You can see the land. What could possibly be going on?" With a thought, I changed the landscape. The insanely high quality screen I'd attached to the window now showed a tropical beach. "Pretty clever of me, hmm?"
"I'm going to go now. Fly to Estveria on my own. Feel free to make yourself at home here. There's nothing valuable in the safe, and you've already ruined all the furniture. Good bye."
I made my way to the airlock and left.

1 comment:

  1. You're power makes you a huge flight risk." to Your
    It was dark, nobody seemed to be keeping watch, and there was nothing the American's could do anyways. to It was dark, nobody seemed to be keeping watch, and there was nothing the Americans