Killer Legs – 2: 'Skulls and Hearts'
Written by lowerbase :: [Monday, 19 March 2018 03:13] Last updated by :: [Tuesday, 20 March 2018 09:28]
Previously on Killer Legs: In an underground quantum facility lab, two graduates, Larry and David, instructed the AI to calculate an alternative reality with fictional parameters (aka Instruction Alpha) using Superman’s powers and a popular website about girls with muscles --which includes David’s fit girlfriend Catherine ‘Cat’-- as the input data. The AI went haywire processing the absurd instruction and David and Larry are trying to stop it, but a Windows Update is blocking its access.
‘Installing update 1 of 90’
The platform could collapse any moment, they feared. From there it would be a seven stores fall. Larry shouted to David “what we are going to do?”
David shouted back, “you wait for the updates to install. I’ll bring help.”
He held David’s arm, “why you? I go!”
“You gave the instruction!”
“You said for me to do it!”
David took a coin from his pocket. “Choose.”
“Heads,” shouted Larry.
David threw the coin but a strong magnetic field catapulted it from their view, just when a lightning coming from the coils hit the tall ceiling, and a thunderstorm of lightnings went into every direction as if the machines were absorbing energy from the Earth itself.
Not only Larry was temporary deaf but too astonished to react, “rr… rock–paper–scissors, David? …David? David?! Where the fuck are you?” Larry saw his co-worker inside of the elevator already going up. “Fucking coward!” He shouted at David.
On his knees before the terminal, Larry was nearly praying for the updates to complete faster. He took the orange plastic helmet, the ears and eyes protection that they were supposedly be wearing all the time, and sat on his chair patiently to wait. ‘Installing update 7 of 90. Keep your PC on until this is done.’
“What if I restart it?” With an electrical discharge striking the second platform next to his, Larry felt that he had no alternative, he unplugged the power cord and plugged right back. “That will work…”
As soon as the computer restarted, it displayed a blue screen with a sad face : (
“Nooo! Fuck! That’s it. I’ve fucked it all.” He fell from his chair and sobbed, “whatever happens, I deserve.” He saw the terminal booting up again. “No, I won’t give up.” Standing on the shaking platform, Larry pressed F8.
Larry was savvy enough to find more boot devices. “Maybe one of this disks will work.”
The second boot disk came out fast, and the Windows 2000 logo appeared on the screen, right on the middle of the desktop he saw the icon for the control application. “Yes! I’m a genius!”
The nimbus of plasma seemed to intensify, making everything inside to reflect its violet color, but its growth was decelerating as the crude terminal interface was loading. Larry saw that it was the full program with countless menus, lists, numbers and graphs. He didn’t have a clue about the meaning of any function on that interface. Sweating, Larry did the only thing he knew, he took the microphone: “abort instruction Alpha.”
Nothing responded. Larry checked if the microphone cable was attached, but then he noticed no more discharges or sparks coming from the coils, the whole seismic vibration had stopped.
The lab was nearly silent.
Still, the massive cloud of bright plasma was drifting over the machines, billowing with streams of pink, violet, purple crisscrossing like waves in a pond. Larry took out his eyes protection, “it is beautiful…”
An old Windows ding called his attention with the message on the terminal: ‘Scope Fully Attainable for Alpha, Cyclotrons standby.’
“Thank God! Holy fuck…”
He took the mouse to click ‘Exit Operation’ but unlike the simplified control application a second option appeared just below: ‘Execute Alpha.’
Larry giggled at what could happen if he clicked ‘Execute.’ Imagine if this huge quantum machinery does what he thinks it does: to change reality. What else? It would give the whole world to the whims of some superpowered musclegirls. They would enslave us all. Larry thought about the possibility. The pointer hovered over ‘Execute’.
“Don’t do it, Larry,” said Larry’s conscience.
“What if I’m destined to click it, conscience? Look at the odds… I, this huge machine, my wacky fantasies… alone here, deep in the Earth. It has to be fate.”
“People might get hurt, Larry.”
“But it would be such fun. Supergirls everywhere. Imagine Cat with superpowers, conscience. Imagine her big legs in a red skirt saving the day.”
“That’s a dirty trick, Larry. This is not a fantasy.”
“Imagine her squatting school buses, saving children live on the TV, millions of views on Youtube, everywhere. She will have the fame she craves. Cat might be thankful that I was the one who did it. It could bond us together. I could be Supergirl’s Pal.”
“Cat wouldn’t care about you, Larry. You are short and miserably out of shape.”
“Well then, fuck conscience. This is the only chance I’ll have to have Cat in my life. I can give her the world right now. How many men could ever say the same? Besides, it is not every day that you can change the course of history.”
Larry mindlessly pressed ‘Execute.’
His heart pounded as he did it expecting a wormhole or a portal. Nothing happened. The cloud of plasma vanished and the Cyclotrons paused. “That was anticlimactic” said Larry.
He noticed the elevator coming down.
Wearing protection helmets, the chief-scientist, two assistants, the security chief, two firefighters and two IT managers descended with David a quarter of a mile into the Earth.
“For how long you two were doing this nonsense down here?” Asked the chief-scientist. His face and voice reminded David of a tall Harry Belafonte, only his skin was darker and that he never smiled.
“Since April, Mr. Stranton.”
“Good lord.” Mr. Stranton couldn’t hide his frustration at the complex management. So sloppy that two Communication graduates had access to one of the most dangerous scientific equipments in the Universe for nearly a year.
David could see right away that if he survives this disaster, his job won’t last long.
The descending elevator had open walls and they saw the artificial lights flooding from bellow illuminating the rocks and concrete structures. Then the chain of Cyclotrons came into their view. “It seems everything in order,” said the chief-scientist eying the ring of machinery from above. Mr. Stranton was then pretty sure that David was high on drugs.
“Yes… it does,” David said somewhat relieved, and also feeling like a fool for describing something out of a Ghostbusters movie to him.
As soon as the elevator docked, Mr. Stranton followed by his entourage walked towards the platform where Larry turned his chair to greet them, “what’s up, guys?” Mr. Stranton ignored him and looked over Larry’s shoulder to read the screen updating the data, and then watched over his assistants inspecting the Cyclotrons and the AI logs. “Is anything wrong?” Larry asked with his poker face to those people. David was very confused.
One assistant yelled from the other platform, “everything seems nominal, sir.”
Mr. Stranton turned his eyes to Larry, “take off your hands from this computer, mister.”
Larry tried to reply, “the Windows 10 version had problems, and I…”
Mr. Stranton ignored Larry once again, calling his security chief instead: “Can you explain a terminal running Windows down here? …and these two dunces messing with it for seven months!”
“Dunces?” Larry mumbled. “Sir, I…”
This time Mr. Stranton did not ignore Larry, he pointed his finger right down at the middle of his eyes shutting him off, “your project should have ended four months ago, and you two are still on the payroll? Who is your superior?”
Larry stuttered, “L… Linzy… Linzy…” he looked at David for help, who didn’t remember her full name either. “Linzy Something.”
“Linzy Something?” Mr. Stranton repeated loudly. He had a pulsating vein in his forehead but was able to control his temper. He walked to the edge of the platform and shouted to his assistants louder than before: “I want this facility completely sealed. Kill off all machines.”
“We haven’t checked the AI logs yet, sir,” yelled one of them, making David and Larry glance at each other.
“Kill it,” ordered Mr. Stranton.
David and Larry took a deep breath of relief as the Cyclotrons were unplugged.
Mr. Stranton called the security chief once again, “discover who Linzy is, burn their clearances and escort them out of here.”
“Are we fired?” Larry asked David. David saw Mr. Stranton giving his back on them. David couldn’t afford to lose this job, but what more he had to say? He knew it was a high paying but temporary job. He couldn’t count on it for a career, he signed too many NDAs. For some reason, he expected it could last forever. David wanted to smack his co-worker right in the face.
Larry would miss this strange job, but he had more significant concerns as the lights of the lab went off: did it work?
On the surface level, they walked the very long concrete corridor leading outside, without their clearance cards, each of the five security posts had to screen them. The whole facility was an utterly dysfunctional private enterprise.
It was still dark outside, Larry and David glanced back at the desert mountain that contained the facility for one more time, and boarded the same bus that transported them across the desert every day of work. “Hey, Jose.” Said David to the driver.
“Hey David. Why are you so glooming?”
“We were fired.”
They sat far from each other. Larry looked at the sky through a peeling part of the opaque bus windows, wondering if he would see a flying girl. He thought about the Instruction Alpha. How many musclegirls were on that website? Thousands. He wasn’t sure. Any woman from any part of the world with enough prettiness and fitness would have her pictures in its galleries sooner or later. Some wouldn’t even know they were there. Girls of all ethnicities, different cultures and social classes, Larry has seen bodybuilders from Iran stretching their fully covered arms and legs with their buff muscles. They could be firefighters, nurses, powerlifters, gymnasts, swimmers, hurdlers, cross-fit athletes, dancers, celebrities, and inevitably, bodybuilders. All that mattered was attractiveness and muscles put together. Many were in their twenties, but also muscle moms, muscle grandmas packing mature female mass. Some were slim and cute, others not so cute but had more than enough ripped muscles to make the cut, making Larry’s imagination to spin. “That’s stupid”, Larry thought aloud, dismissing the thought of stargazing supergirls in the sky. “So absurd.”
The bus started to leave the site and David was only thinking about bills. Linzy hadn’t paid him this month yet, how he will get to her? He’ll have negative money at the bank by the end of the week.
It takes an hour for the bus to reach the city, most of it was a dirt road. The opaque plastic covering the windows was mostly loose and full of holes rendering the secrecy of its route useless. It could be so much faster with his car, David thought, only he wouldn’t need to take that road anymore.
Jose’s secretive bus arrived at the car park where David and Larry leave their cars every day for work. Once the bus left them, David and Larry turned to each other. “I guess I’ll see each other on Facebook then,” said David.
“I don’t have Facebook.”
“Well… see ya around, Larry,” said David patting him on the shoulder and entering his car.
Larry watched David leaving. It was nearly 5:00 AM. On the flat landscape, Larry saw the crescent moon and the first rays of a new day. He sighed and entered his car.
David drove the empty city streets while looking at the messages on his phone. Because of the security protocol, he had to leave his phone in the glove compartment. He found tens of messages from Cat, “what now?” He muttered. David couldn’t handle another emotional rollercoaster with her. That day was too miserable already. Last week she cried for three days because of one single thread of white hair growing in her temples. On yesterday a whole new crisis because Cat decided that he is cheater.
Did he love her? He questioned himself. Just thinking about Cat made his blood pressure to elevate. Without a fat paycheck, David felt that Cat wouldn’t stand to be with him. With her big green eyes and her prissy personality that made her so attractive, men of all types, ages and wallets hit on Cat; and it would happen in front of him, on the internet, at the gym, restaurants, everywhere. He could only imagine how many men hit on his girlfriend when he wasn’t around. Why would Cat stay with him?
On the rear mirror, David saw red blinking lights coming over fast, and he put his car aside, five police patrols crossed him and turned right. “Must be a robbery,” David said as he turned left trying to make sense of Cat’s messages: ‘Something is wrong with me’, ‘I’m doing crazy shit! I’m scared!’
What crazy shit could be this time? David wondered. The last time she left so many messages was because her kickboxing instructor scolded her out of his class. Even a parking ticket made her batshit crazy once. Always silly, small things that no one cares, Cat makes it grow into a storm. Cat would turn everything upside down if anyone rubs her in the wrong way. She was too much to deal, in this relationship he felt like walking on a minefield with no end in sight.
At a red light, David looked far at the empty street, and for one moment he thought about the airport, a plane ticket, delete Facebook, and that’s it. No more Cat. No more drama. It would be so easy.
From the end of that same street, fire trucks rushed in with loud horns and passed him. “Shit, there must be a disaster somewhere…”
After the trucks, four ambulances came along with them. Life is fragile, he thought. “I need to see if Cat is fine,” David cleared any second thoughts and drove to his neighborhood.
His street was dark, even less street lights functioning than the usual. Approaching his building David nearly collided with it an overturned car in the middle of the street.
David turned off the engine and walked towards it, calling for 911 on his phone. He heard one message being repeated again and again, ‘all lines are busy at moment, please wait.’
Holding the call, he inspected the accident: no one inside the car or either blood inside or out. Yet, the front part of the car was mangled like some monster jaw had chewed it and spat metal all over the asphalt. He never saw a freaky accident like this.
David dropped the call as he recognized that car. It was abandoned for months on his street. Glancing at his neighbors buildings, he saw a few people spying on him by the curtains and hiding themselves like a shootout just happened there.
Only there were no bodies.
Leaving his car there, he walked the street towards his home. Suddenly, his foot nearly slid into a knee deep pothole. David illuminated it and it was more of a crater, “holy fuck, some wrecking ball fell from the sky.”
Only there was no wrecking ball around.
David kept walking and got closer of his building as he felt glass cracking under his steps. The phone’s light showed him broken glass as far as it could illuminate. He noticed a game console and a TV obliterated, and David turned to the other side to find his couch destroyed on the sideway. His heart was pounding as he looked up at the third store of his building, not only the windows of his apartment were gone, parts of the walls have collapsed.
“A gas explosion,” he said. David ran the steps up much faster than any elevator. At that moment, his love for Catherine was clear as crystal, David couldn’t handle the idea of losing her.
Breathing fast, he saw his front door tumbled to the side. He found no signs of fire and smoke. Inside, he screamed for Cat. The whole place was wrecked. The kitchen island split in two like a meteor just crashed in the middle of it.
He walked towards their bedroom, near the door he found a wide heap of cigarette ashes, only it didn’t smell like cigarettes. The black marks on the floor and the wall that went along with the ashes wasn’t from any fire he knew.
David opened his bedroom door slowly, and Cat was seated there on the bed, sniffing with her back to him, David was relieved that she was alive, “what happened?”
She didn’t say anything.
Cat’s brawny muscular back seemed greater than usual, looking pumped like she just left the gym. Her shoulder seemed to take more space than before. Her nightshirt was taut and ripping in places. Then he looked down at her legs, he gasped, ‘she could crush watermelons now’, he thought.
He walked before her, Cat seemed in shock. “Cat? Are you okay?”
“No…” She said with a very small voice.
“Cat… you are looking different…”
Her choking tears stopped for a moment, “in a good way or a bad way?” David would never say ‘bad way’ even if it were true, but he paused for the answer, making her anxious. Were her shoulders broader than his? Her whole body maintained her same proportions but was seemed larger everywhere. Her pert breasts seemed fuller. Augmented.
“Instruction Alpha,” David whispered in realization. “C… Cat… where is my dog?”
“Where is Apollo, Cat?
“He… he didn’t stop barking at me… and I… don’t know what happened.”
“Why was Apollo barking at you?”
“Fuck. I don’t know. I guess since it started… my body was on fire, David. I was just watching Netflix when I felt this warmth coming from inside, like burning, and then…” Cat paused at its memories.
“… and then what?” David asked. She had something to say, but Cat chose to keep it to herself. Cat wasn’t even sure if it was indeed an out-of-this-world orgasm. It was too intense to be just an orgasm. More intense than giving birth, she imagined. Her violent seizures were what devastated much of the living room.
“I felt like I was falling, a nonstop falling, I was panicking, David. Until I noticed I wasn’t falling, I was floating, levitating in the air… outside! Above the street! It felt weird, David. I was floating above the buildings, I couldn’t breathe! I just wanted the ground closer to me… and then it came to me. Like, I could move the world around me instead of me moving around the world. Is that makes sense? I wished too hard and fell hard on the street, but nothing happened to me.”
She can fly. It couldn’t be real. “H… how strong are you?”
With the tip of her fingers, Cat punctured their premium mattress and moved her hand on its insides as if she scooping it like a cake with her fingers, springs popped and thick foam poured from her roaming hands. “That strong,” she whispered at it.
David just blinked at that. It was a two thousand dollars mattress Cat was mangling like pudding. The same bed they tried together and chose because of how good sex would be in it. Cat just destroyed it.
Seeing what Cat can do, David faced the very real life threatening danger of staying in that room. “W… where is Apollo, Cat?”
“Why you keep asking about that dog?! How can that stinky dog be more important than THIS!?” Cat’s punctuated ‘this’ with a turbulent gush that pushed David to the ground and moved every piece of furniture and light stands out of their places, blasting the last intact window of his apartment. It gave him a clue of what happened to his apartment.
She was hiding her face from him, looking at the other direction, covering her mouth with her hand. David was shaking all over. “T… t… those ashes in the corridor, Cat… that is not Apollo, right?”
“He just didn’t stop barking at me! I just… I don’t know, I just wanted that damn dog to quit it, to stop barking for once and then… everything went bright, but he barked louder, and I made it even more brighter…and he burst like fireworks,” she said crying. How it happened was still a mystery to her, but Cat knew pretty well she was the cause. Cat felt the heat coming from her eyes like she could channel all her anger through them.
Cat expected David to be screaming at her.
Why wasn’t he yelling at her already? Cat would feel better if David just blasted a fit of rage at her. Cat slowly turned her eyes to him.
David was catatonic.
As soon as Cat’s deadly green eyes bored on him, David covered his face in sheer terror and took distance from Cat, afraid of becoming ashes like Apollo. His back met the wall as she stood up, only then David noticed that Cat wasn’t two inches shorter than him, but two inches taller than him. It happened. Instruction Alpha, somehow, actually happened. His mind seemed to be in a loop of thoughts, thinking of all of it could mean. His survival instincts were taking over.
Cat didn’t expect the frightened look from his eyes. “David?” She extended her arm to reach to him, but David screamed and dashed towards the corridor, stepping over on the ashes, jumping over the broken furniture and the pieces of cracked plaster and concrete. “David!” Cat called him back.
He jumped down the stairs as if he was escaping an earthquake. “DAVID!” Her calling shook the whole building making him stumble down the last set of stars, his face white from the falling plaster. Her heard car alarms, babies crying, birds fleeing the area just from a mere shout from Cat. David gulped again at what her mere gaze could do, what the tip of her fingers could do. There was nothing she couldn’t destroy. Running to outside, his nervous hands couldn’t coordinate themselves to press the remote button of his car’s doors.
At the distance he heard gunshots and then something that felt like a bombardment, and the he saw far away a building collapsing and a firetruck on flames ascending into the sky and then falling into an explosion that illuminated the horizon. “What the holy fuck…” David covered his ears as the sound blast met his ears, his car keys escaped from his hands falling between the remains of his furniture ejected from his living room.
On his knees, David pushed pieces of wood and metal aside to find his keys, “Fuck, fuck…” David repeated on his fours over the fallen remains of his home.
“David…” He froze. He looked at his side in fear and saw nothing, but then looking up to he found two socked feet floating in the air right above and before him. Just as her voice, the ankle socks with skulls and hearts said enough to whom it belonged, more so than the familiar shape of her larger calves flaring from behind those legs. Cat’s muscular legs that were already intimidating were then frightening to him.
David was afraid to run, afraid to stay, afraid to look up, afraid to open his mouth, afraid to think. Not even his survival instincts could tell him what to do now. No police or army could save the day, his girlfriend had Kryptonian powers.