There I was in my shorts and a t–shirt. A horrible superhero, I thought; I’d sooner be mistaken as civilian than savior. Good thing I only wanted a bit of fun.
Downtown was pretty much evacuated by now, the grey roads silent except for the occasional whir and the sound of crashing glass. I followed the din until I came around a corner and saw the mad doctor waving his mechanical arms at the far end of the street. A trail of debris led from me to him, burnt scars on the asphalt and shattered glass and stone chips by the buildings. One car sat melted in half and I shuddered at the thought of the energy it took to do that.
I puffed out my chest and took a step forward, waving my hand as forcefully as I could.
It did nothing.
I kept going closer, constantly aware of the noise of every step I made, all the while waving frantically at the villain before me. I emulated every movement I’d used to change the channel and turn off the stereo, but nothing affected him.
I must’ve been too far away, so I kept going closer.
I could practically smell the mechanics in his suit by the time I was certain my glove would pay off. I was less careful, close as I was, to be soundless, as now every little noise was drowned out by the spinning drone of the fan built in the back of suit (an exhaust fan like on any computer, I figured) and the whistling noise his arms made as they charged and fired their lightning rays.
I was maybe a foot behind him when I clenched my fist and howled as I slashed through the air, determined to take him out in a single blow.
I failed. Miserably.
My gesture left him unfazed, but my battle cry alerted him to my presence, and he spun toward me. With his blasters blazing. I ducked just in time not to be fried, but the scorching heat of the lightning penetrated through my shirt and left my back burning in pain.
I rolled to the side as he unleashed another bolt from his other arm and his suit went silent for a moment while both canons started to recharge.
“Imbecile,” he shouted at me, causing small flashes to erupt underneath the yellow casing around his skull and brain. “Who are you to challenge the might of Dr. Fondlebrain?”
His name wasn’t nearly as funny this time around, with his guns aimed at me and no place to run.
I saw something through of the corner of my right eye and turned, but before I could fully grasp who it was, the blur had passed, arcing behind Dr. Fondlebrain in a circular path. He swept up underneath me from the left, throwing us tumbling to the street and over each other as Fondlebrain fired his canons simultaneously. The putrid scent of melting asphalt was suffocating.
The blur rolled off me and cartwheeled in a circle till he landed on his feet, and for a moment, completely still, I could see him for what he was: An average guy like me, black pants, teal shirt, wild hair and crazy eyes.
He grinned—”Not today, doc.”—then pushed off his feet, dodging another blast, and spun around the villain. He thrust his arms forward, hands in fists, and twisted them through the air. He did so again in the opposite direction, then grunted as he pulled his hands back, as if wrenching something off Dr. Fondlebrain’s suit. His hands were empty, but the mechanical drone of the doctor’s exhaust fan came to a halt with an earsplitting screech.
Fondlebrain whirled around, but the blur was faster, moving in a circle around him so fast it was as if his feet never touched the ground.
I glanced back at the doctor, and already smoke was spewing out of his back panel. With no way to cool itself, the system was starting to burn out. I knew right away I didn’t want to be there when that happened and I took the chance to get to my feet and flee. I looked around for my savior, but he was already gone.
At home I locked myself in the bathroom and poured aloe down my back, cringing at the blistering cold liquid as it ran across scorched skin. It was barely worse than a bad case of sunburn, but it hurt like hell, and probably looked like it too. I clenched my fist, growling, and nearly jumped at the sudden cacophony from my room: the TV and stereo were blasting.
My anger at myself suddenly turned toward the blur: He’d interrupted me. Maybe I hadn’t done much to Fondlebrain yet, but I would have. I knew it. Look at what I’d just done!
Back in my room I waved my hand, to turn the stereo off and lower the TV’s volume, but it didn’t work. After half a dozen failed attempts, I settled for the remotes. The news was showing a picture of a fried mechanical suit and the dead body cased inside it as they went on about how Dr. Fondlebrain, an electrical physicist, had been a prominent professor until suffering a mental breakdown a few years back and falling off the radar.
A pity, they called it.
An opportunity for vengeance, I thought.
PART 4: The Geeks