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---

Only Half Past the Point of No Return

Nereid was glad that she'd been working out lately. Sophie was fast.

They'd gone to lunch at the Stars N' Garters at Sophie's insistence. Sophie said that she really wanted to know more about Nereid and her family, so off they went. Nereid had been horribly and inevitably embarrassed by her parents; about the only thing her mother hadn't done was produce baby photos. They were just leaving, Nereid sighing with relief, when the Kosmic Klaxon went off. Sophie had spotted the incoming blast and started running, pulling equipment out of her satchel as she ran. Nereid, of course, just tried to keep up.

Nereid saw the top of Meteor's head rise above the buildings they were nearing, saw the giant woman draw back and punch down. There was a strange hesitation, and then Meteor -- only thirty or forty feet tall at that juncture -- flew up and backward. Nereid was impressed as the woman shrank in the middle of her arc -- at least the building she fell on wouldn't be crushed outright, just punctured.

Sophie had her goggles on and was assembling some sort of gun without even looking at it. Her running had slowed a bit while she did it.

"Should I call the others?" Nereid panted.

Sophie shook her head. "They'll be on their way, with the Klaxon and all. Gold Stars too, and Guardians probably. All we need to do is get there." She snapped a barrel into the gun and glanced down at it. "I'm all set for now. You ready? It's on the next block."

"Sure," Nereid said, feeling confused. "There wasn't an impact."

"Nope," Sophie said. "Clearly intelligent."

They heard the wind spin up before they saw it: a giant tornado, light burning from within. Windows blew out in nearby buildings, shattered glass and bits of brickwork flashing by viciously in the vortex.

Sophie said, "Bystanders," and gestured at people who were hard to see through the dust and sand kicked up by the storm.

Meteor grew again, a few streets away, and seemed to be stooping and standing a lot. "What's she doing?" Nereid said, squinting.

"Evacuation," Sophie said, making an adjustment to her gun. "Get ready." She aimed at the windstorm and pulled the trigger.

There was no light or sound from her weapon. Nereid couldn't even hear a click from the trigger. But somehow, whatever she did, temporarily altered the laws of physics.

Debris hung eerily in mid-air for a fraction of a second, and then it all tumbled to the ground. They could now see the glowing man and the woman at his feet. He had her by the hair, half-lifting her, and she was wild-eyed with terror.

The man looked at Sophie. Nereid could only ever remember his eyes later: radiation blue.

"Smartass," he snarled, and Sophie dropped like her strings were cut.

---

Note from the Author:

I've stretched the ChipIn date, so there's only $15 to go for an extra episode this week.


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Date: 2012-05-09 10:08 pm (UTC)
the_leaky_pen: (Default)
From: [personal profile] the_leaky_pen
> "Smartass," he snarled, and Sophie dropped like her strings were cut.

I think this might be my favourite of your cliffhanger endings. It's just so... sudden, but quiet.

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