Atomica – Issue 5
Written by castor :: [Saturday, 11 July 2015 21:08] Last updated by :: [Monday, 13 July 2015 22:08]
“So you want something that covers your stomach?” said Andrew Straton looking up from his table.
“It’s called a full shirt.” said Atomica “It goes all the way to the pants. I think they developed it last year.”
Andrew was a clothing designer who did superhero wear. He specifically designed her costume. There was a character like it in ‘The Incredibles’ she remembered. There she had been a brassy, strippy, little woman who lived in a giant glass house with robots and miracles. Andrew worked out in a surprisingly dingy loft in L.A., a city without a lot of lofts. Still, he did good work, but they where hardly miracles.
Atomica went through, realistically, a costume every two weeks. They just got damaged and destroyed when her invulnerable body met the vulnerable world, even though the Gortex/Kevlar weave was bulletproof (though unlike ‘The Incredibles’ comment: not machine washable). So she had demand.
He grinned: “Fair enough, I think I can do that.”
While the costumes were more or less the same, he did try to play with things every six months or so.
“Work with the piping theme, give it a sense that I am not just connecting it down. Mid sections are tricky, which is why I tend to avoid them, but not to hard.How quickly do you think?”
“Two weeks. May I ask why?” he ventured.
“I’m pregnant.” Atomica said casually, “With my first child.”
That last bit was something she was trying out. She told her banker and hairdresser the other day and it was coming along.
Andrew shook his head “Huh that’s tricky.”
She paused. “Huh? Do you have problems?”
“Well, I have never done pregnancy. No, what’s the term, ‘maternity’ superheroine costumes before. Or, actually, any maternity work really. I mean, mostly it’s more than just filling out your shirt.”
“Plenty of people get pregnant. I just want a suit I can do my job in without a lot of fuss. I mean that was my original design doc: something simple. Basic.”
“Sleek. You have incredible lines. I mean your body is a work of art, all I do is cover it up.”
“I find myself nude all the time,” said Atomica “that would explain it.”
“I mean, seriously” said Andrew “There is … your boobs changes shapes. Your hips widen. It’s not fat. I mean, plenty of women don’t look fat, it’s just the belly that widens … it’s … well, a big target.”
“It’s part of me now. And for a couple of months at least. In the mean time I don’t expect the world not to need me.”
He sighed and went to a laptop. “I want to do more research, can you wait a few minutes?”
“You know what, I am going to fly around L.A. See if I can find anyone or anything that needs saving and come back in say half an hour.”
“Well, you don’t have to be a jerk about it. And make it an hour.”
Atomica flew into the sky. She liked Los Angeles. It was bigger than people gave it credit for, more varied and quite beautiful. Unlike New York, she had spent some time here when she was first established and still remembered fondly that month or so. She had thought of settling here permanently but, well, things happened.
Without any major things worthy of her attention, she flew down to Newport Beach to a giant hotel she had stayed at. It looked over the ocean. She didn’t fly openly then – like she did now – and going over the ocean was a trip, as she let her mind relax for a second in her power. Seeing the very clear water, the fish inside it … then she looked over to see the buildings on the cliffs. She shook her head. Would she someday share this with her child?
She flew over to a little Mexican restaurant in Hermosa, where she had really good tacos a couple of times. She wanted one and as she flew over, the thought came: if she was going to grow fat and get a belly she might as well do it with something with that really good cheese. However Atomica didn’t have a wallet – if she died she didn’t want anything attaching her to Bill. Plus the lines – when people saw her wearing a skin tight costume they didn’t realize that yes that meant, well, the lines of a credit card wouldn’t fit.
Moreover, she was wearing said costume and always felt slightly foolish wearing them shopping. She considered just going home, getting her wallet and normal clothing and flying back … but that would take 10 minutes and Bill was there.
As she flew over it, thinking idle thoughts, she heard a slotting sound, but like a clock ticking noise.
She didn’t hear it with her ears.
What the fuck should she do? Should she hide? Run? Where could she go what should she do?
Then she moved her hand. The kid …
She shook her head. No. She needed …
Panic. That was the last thing she needed in this situation. Control. Discipline. Calm. These were her powers. More useful sometimes than anything else. As long as she was in control of the situation as long as she was invincible, the power was there.
How could this be?
If anything it would take 300 years for anything and it wouldn’t. She knew that. There was nothing to come from.
She thought again to the pregnancy – hormones do odd things to women. She knew that very well and it would be possible that some mistake – it was the wrong word – change had set the call off accidentally. A false positive. A Delusion for an eye she didn’t have. That could be. A rush of estrogen. She would ask her doctor about that next time she saw her.
That was it. What else could it possibly be?
She knew that, in this line of work, possibly was dangerous. She herself, by any logic, was impossible and – while a meteor worked by the laws of physics or a storm – enough of physics acting in different ways could do very strange things.
She sighed and rubbed her belly. She need to think of his or hers safety. What would she tell it when it grew up about this? What kind of things would she reveal? The things she never told anyone else not even Bill.
There was of course nothing worth telling. Not anymore.
She flew in place troubled for a second, when she heard a vague note in her ear, a sound she did know how to respond to.
She accelerated to two times the speed of sound, but was glad she was close anyway. It was in Barstow, California. One of those small cities at the end of the road, which was perhaps the idea: easy to hide in, easy to cut off. She heard distant fire.
It was at a middle school, which she reached in less than 10 seconds. There were three gunmen, one of which was in front of the school in the doorway holding a large rifle.
This was one of those classical situations where Superman may have landed then walked forward as the gunshots ricocheted off his chest. She didn’t have time for it.
She didn’t even bother to land before she grabbed the gun from his hand and hit him with the barrel. It went off and got embedded in the ceiling before he fell down. She grabbed it and bent it not even 10 degrees before it broke in ten pieces – one of which flew 20 feet into the trees before she threw it to the ground.
She kicked open the door and heard a scream. She hated when that happened. People thought that she … no that’s not what she was.
She did turn and rush down the hall to see another gunman – a younger man of about 20. Youth radiated and perhaps a touch of fear in his face. He raised a gun and managed to get off a shot at her hitting her neck. She didn’t flinch, but simply moved forward and kicked his gun. The gun flew out of his hand and went off.
She turned to see the bullets – about 5 of them – in the air. She moved at super speed, flying through the air and grabbed them out of the air, still so very hot and molten in her fingers (that was the things about gunshots: they literally melted in the air as she grabbed it bent around her finger tips and that wasn’t super strength).
She dropped them on the ground and turned to see him try to run away, although the kick – for some reason – gave him a limp. She simply came behind him, grabbed his back tossed him to the ground as if he was nothing and he was.
One more the report had said, but reports could lie.
She opened the door to a class room to see it was full of little kids under their desks hiding. She sighed and closed the door.
“Hello Ms. Atomica”
She turned to see a large man – literally large. He was 6’4” and covered in fat, which made the big impression of just pure bulk.
He had a large rifle to what looked to be a young pretty teacher’s head.
She turned to him.
She grabbed the end of the rifle – which was a good thing, because as she reached it a bullet left the chamber. It went only two inches before the time metal crumpled.
The gun exploded into metal and dust covering the teacher who screamed. The man let go and, as Atomica tossed the gun away, he barely had time to let his hand go and turn before she had him on the ground.
“What do you want ?”
He didn’t answer. He only whimpered.
Atomica stood outside, drinking water, as the police came. She watched the teacher sitting in a corner being treated by an ambulance. She had first degree burns on her face from the gunsmoke – painful but not too serious. Maybe scars, maybe not. If there would be she hoped not too big.
5 kids and a teacher were dead. 10 more were injured.
There were 130 more being lead out of the building. Some of them looked at her. Some of them couldn’t. She didn’t blame them. That was the thing about her: sometimes she was around death and destruction, pain and sorrow. That could be a hard thing. A very hard thing to look at, after it was over.
She didn’t cry. The world needed her.
She got a message in her ear that Straton had finished his research and wanted to talk about costumes. She ignored him for now. She would deal with such things latter.
The world needed her. She had to remember that.
She was a good person. She had to remember that.
That was the only important fact worth mentioning.